Police Right To Shoot Axe-Wielding Woman

14 December 2018, 12:06 | Updated: 14 December 2018, 12:13

Armed police

A firearms officer shooting a plastic bullet at an axe-wielding woman was "necessary and proportionate", a police watchdog has found.

The armed officer fired a baton round at the woman when she ran towards officers and members of the public "apparently intent on striking them with an axe", according to a report by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).

The 48-year-old woman was temporarily disabled when the plastic bullet hit her thigh, which allowed police to disarm then arrest her.

The incident took place in the grounds of Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh on March 31.

Police were first called to the scene at 12.25pm after a member of the public phoned to alert them a woman had chased him in the wooded grounds with an axe.

Officers attended, sealed off the area and spent around six hours along with a friend of the woman attempting to persuade her to hand over the axe.

The 48-year-old responded with threats and eventually ran towards officers and the public with the weapon at 6.31pm, prompting use of the plastic bullet, which left her with bruising to her thigh.

She has since been charged with a number of offences.

Pirc investigated the incident as it involved police use of a firearm to shoot a plastic bullet, officially known as a Attenuating Energy Projectile (AEP) launcher.

"The woman posed a danger to a member of the public and police, threatening them with an axe," commissioner Kate Frame found.

"The use of the AEP launcher in the circumstances was both necessary and

proportionate."