Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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South Wales Police officers praised for handling of mental health incident in Swansea

The actions of two South Wales Police officers in disarming a man with mental health issues who was stabbing himself in a bathroom have been commended by an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.

The investigation found the police constables acted with bravery and selflessness to remove a kitchen knife from the 22 year-old man to prevent him causing himself further harm, and then ably treated his multiple stab wounds before paramedics arrived.  

The officers had responded to a concern for welfare call from the man’s family and attended an address in Sketty, Swansea on 26 September last year.

The man had said he wanted to kill himself and on arrival officers found him deeply distressed behind a locked bathroom door at the property, armed with a knife. Officers initially attempted to talk to the man and encouraged him to open the door, to no avail.

Believing there to be an immediate threat to life, the officers broke down the door and encountered the man stabbing himself repeatedly in the torso with the 6-inch knife. During the incident, an officer discharged his Taser twice and the officers struggled with the man to restrain him. Once the man was under control, the officers immediately applied pressure to the most serious stab wounds while verbally reassuring him.

IOPC Director for Wales, Catrin Evans, yesterday said:

“The two officers acted with considerable courage in preventing the man, who was in crisis, from causing himself further harm. Body-worn video shows that during the struggle in the confines of a cramped bathroom, one of the officers reached for the knife, at significant risk to their own safety. The officers were calm and controlled and treated the man with compassion throughout the incident. We found they used only reasonable force to conclude a very stressful, dynamic situation.”   

We understand the man has made a good physical recovery from his injuries after treatment in hospital.

The IOPC has provided its findings to South Wales Police, suggesting the two officers are commended by the force for their actions.


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