Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Use of Taser on man who died in Falmouth was in line with force policy and training

The use of Taser on a man who subsequently died in Falmouth was in line with force policy, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation found.

Officers were called to Langton Road at around 9pm on May 23, 2017 after Marc Cole, 30, had been seen in the street with a knife.

Mr Cole had caused injuries to himself and superficial injuries to a member of the public.

An officer Tasered Mr Cole three times after unsuccessfully trying to encourage him to put the knife down.

Officers and paramedics attempted to save his life but he was sadly later pronounced dead in hospital.

A post mortem examination attributed Mr Cole’s death to multiple causes, including the use of cocaine, an episode of altered behaviour including self-harm, excitement, exertion and restraint, including the discharge of a Taser.

During the investigation, IOPC investigators took statements from the attending officers and from paramedics who attended the scene. They also spoke to witnesses to the incident and Mr Cole’s family and friends as well as establishing the training, policies and procedures adopted by Devon and Cornwall Police in relation to Taser.

Our investigation found the officers acted in accordance with legislation, national and local policies, and local training procedures when using force.

We completed our investigation in December 2017, seven months after Mr Cole’s death. We shared our findings with the Coroner, Mr Cole’s family and Devon and Cornwall Police at the time.

IOPC Regional Director Catrin Evans yesterday said:

“My thoughts are with Mr Cole’s family and friends following his death. This was a traumatic incident for all involved.

“We found that the officer who used the Taser held a genuine belief that Mr Cole was about to harm himself or another person and acted reasonably.”

An inquest, which ended recently (28 January 2020), returned a narrative conclusion.

Publication of our findings has awaited the end of an inquest.


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