Met Police officer who Tasered 10-year-old twice says he feared she would assault him

A Metropolitan Police constable who Tasered a 10-year-old girl brandishing garden shears feared she would attack him, a panel heard (stock image) Credit: PA

A Metropolitan Police officer who Tasered a 10-year-old girl twice said he feared she would attack him, a misconduct panel has heard.

PC Jonathan Broadhead is accused of using force “which was not necessary, reasonable and proportionate” against the girl, referred to as Child A during his Met Police gross misconduct hearing at Palestra House in London.

The officer fired his Taser at the girl twice within “approximately eight seconds” of entering her home in southwest London on January 21, 2021, after her mother called 999.

She was still clutching the garden shears when PC Broadhead discharged his Taser and had not listened to his commands to drop them, the hearing was told.

Child A had grown angry with her mother, Miss A, after she confiscated her mobile phone because of a safeguarding concern about her online activity.

PC Jonathan Broadhead fired his Taser at the youngster twice within 'approximately eight seconds' of entering her home Credit: PA

Giving evidence on Monday, Miss A said she feared the girl’s behaviour may have been affected by consuming cannabis edibles, and said she called 999 after she started threatening her with the hammer and shears.

She claimed her daughter hit her with the hammer before police arrived, but said she was a safe distance away from her when officers got there and did not want her to be Tasered.

PC Broadhead said he felt his actions with the Taser were "necessary".

On Tuesday, he defended his actions saying he was concerned she would attack him.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, he said: “I was worried what her intentions were with the shears, why, as soon as she’d seen us, she’d picked the shears up. I was worried what she was going to do with them.”

In body-worn video played to the panel, he can be heard saying “Put it down now” twice as he advances into the property.

A police officer holding a Taser (stock image) Credit: PA

He said he gave the succinct commands “to make it nice and clear” so Child A could hear and understand.

He claimed the girl could have inflicted a “huge array” of injuries and “potentially fatal” wounds with the shears, so he pulled out his Taser after she “armed herself” and headed upstairs.

“I felt the Taser, as a distance tool, was the best way to deal with Child A, try to secure the shears to… protect us (and) anybody else in the property,” he said.

On how he felt at the time, he said: “Panicked, unsure, questioning who was in the house, what was the layout of the house, where was she going, what was she going to do?

“Worrying what was going to happen.”

He disputed that Child A ran away from officers, instead saying her movement was a “purposeful walk into the property away from us”.

PC Broadhead said: 'I felt the Taser...was the best way to deal with Child A, try to secure the shears to…protect us (and) anybody else' Credit: PA

PC Broadhead shouted “Put them down” a third time and “Police officer, Taser” before Tasering the girl as she tried to go upstairs.

He said he Tasered her twice because he did not believe the first shot had worked.

He said: “I felt that, as she reached the bend in the stairs, that was my last possible moment to take the activation of the Taser – had she made the bend the Taser would not have the option any more.

“Moving around the corner gives her a bigger height advantage – with me going towards the bottom of the stairs, she would have been directly above me,” he added.

At the hearing on Monday, the panel heard that Child A is around 5 feet tall.

But PC Broadhead said: “I was worried she could and would assault us.”

He said using his baton or Pava spray would not have been an “appropriate” alternative to his Taser.

PC Broadhead admitted there was no discussion with PC Morgan about 'tactical options or creating a plan' Credit: PA

Asked why he did not let the girl retreat upstairs, he said: “I didn’t know what her intentions were with the shears, whether there was anybody else in there, why she’d decided when she saw us to pick them up and specifically go the way she did.”

On why he did not speak to Miss A before rushing in and Tasering her daughter, he said: “As the door opened, Child A armed herself and went off.

“I felt that dealing with Child A was the priority rather than dealing with and chatting to Miss A about the background.”

Reflecting on the incident, he said: “I still think the Taser was the best option I had, yes.”

PC Broadhead admitted there was no discussion with PC Morgan about “tactical options or creating a plan” as they drove to the address, despite them having brief details of what was going on.

In hindsight, he said this was “poor planning on my part” as he was the “more experienced officer”.

The misconduct panel will deliberate on Wednesday before its chairwoman, Catherine Elliot, is expected to deliver her findings on Thursday Credit: PA

Olivia Checa-Dover, a barrister presenting the case for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog, said: “This case is about PC Broadhead’s use of force in discharging his Taser twice against a 10-year-old girl on January 21, 2021.

“The IOPC contends that the force used breached the standard of professional behaviour on use of force amounting to gross misconduct.

“The officer accepts the factual elements – so, deploying the Taser twice in those circumstances – and so the issue for this panel is not whether this happened but whether it was consistent (with the) high standards that apply to all police officers or was a breach.”

She said PC Broadhead and his colleague, PC Steven Morgan, arrived at the address following Miss A’s 999 call reporting that her daughter was using a hammer and garden shears to “bang things” and threaten her.

The “brief circumstances including the age of Child A were relayed over the airwaves to the officers” before they arrived, Ms Checa-Dover added.

But PC Broadhead said "her age was considered" and that in his "urgent judgement", he believed Tasering "was necessary to control the perceived threat".

The misconduct panel will deliberate on Wednesday before its chairwoman, Catherine Elliot, is expected to deliver her findings on Thursday.

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