Posted: Thursday 6 April 2017

Police fully justified in shooting tyres of vehicle involved in cash machine theft

The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) has concluded in a report published today (6 April 2017) that police were justified in their use of firearms to shoot the tyres of a vehicle whose occupants were earlier involved in the theft of a cash machine.

The findings were submitted to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland in May 2016, and can now be published after outstanding criminal proceedings were concluded yesterday at Liverpool Crown Court.

The Commissioner's report found that because of the high risk posed to the public and police, the police firearms response was both necessary and proportionate to allow the officers to disable the suspects' vehicle, prevent them from escaping and maximise the safety of the public and police.

Police intelligence indicated that the persons responsible for the ATM theft and other crimes had access to firearms, a history of extreme violence and had previously used stolen vehicles to ram police vehicles and evade capture.

The incident took place on 12 February 2016 after the gang had been involved in the theft of a cash machine in Carnoustie earlier that morning.

A vehicle, suspected of being involved in the incident, was seen parked in Westway Retail Park in Arbroath and police responded by dispatching armed officers.

The officers discharged three shotgun tyre deflation rounds (TDRs) to disable the suspects' vehicle when they used it to ram a police car in an attempt to escape.

Police then arrested the occupants of the vehicle.

During the incident, two further rounds were also discharged at another vehicle which was mistakenly thought to be involved with the earlier theft.

The Commissioner, Kate Frame, commented:

"The police response, to what was a significant threat to public safety and the officers themselves, was wholly justified.

"They had reliable intelligence to indicate they were dealing with suspects who had access to firearms, a history of extreme violence and who had previously used high-powered stolen vehicles to ram police vehicles and escape.

"When the suspects then used the same dangerous tactic to try and avoid arrest during  this incident, the use of Tyre Deflation Rounds to disable their vehicle was not only necessary but proportionate."

Notes to editors

In terms of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Investigations, Serious Incidents and Specified Weapons) Regulations 2013, all incidents of Police Scotland's use of firearms must be referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner for independent investigation.

View the Report here

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