A Metropolitan police officer Tasered a 10-year-old girl twice after she threatened her mother with garden shears and hit her with a hammer, a misconduct hearing has heard.
PC Jonathan Broadhead is accused of gross misconduct over the use of force that was “not necessary, reasonable and proportionate” when he responded to the mother’s 999 call. The hearing was told he used the Taser within “approximately eight seconds” of entering the house in south-west London on 21 January 2021.
On Monday, the hearing was told the girl, referred to as Child A, was still clutching the garden shears when Broadhead discharged the Taser, and had not listened to his commands to drop them.
She was said to have grown angry with her mother, referred to as Miss A, after she confiscated her mobile phone because of a safeguarding concern about her online activity.
Miss A 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.
Olivia Checa-Dover, a barrister presenting the case for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), said the watchdog “contends that the force used breached the standard of professional behaviour on use of force amounting to gross misconduct”.
She added: “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.”
Giving evidence, Miss A said she feared the girl’s behaviour may have been affected by consuming cannabis edibles. The “brief circumstances including the age of Child A were relayed over the airwaves” to Broadhead and his colleague PC Steven Morgan before they arrived, Checa-Dover said.
“What happened upon arrival is captured upon their body-worn footage. The front door was opened by Miss A – in my submission by that stage she was presenting as calm.”
Giving evidence on Monday, Miss A said: “I wanted the police to help me convince [her] to put down the shears and the hammer ... by talking to her.”
Recalling what happened when she opened the door and let the officers into the property, she said: “Everything was very quick, they came in.” Asked if the experience had affected whether she would call the police again, she said: “If a child’s involved, yes. Just because of the experience I went through with my daughter, I wouldn’t want that to happen to another child again.”
Robert Morris, representing Broadhead, said: “Child A has had an awful lot to deal with as a young girl”. He told Miss A: “Things had got really bad on that day ... and it started off because you were concerned with your daughter and who she was dealing with online. You were concerned for her welfare and so you had taken away her mobile phone, and she reacted very badly to that ... she just got more and more aggressive.”
On Monday, Morgan said he was concerned for his own safety during the incident and that the child, still armed with the shears, had gained a “positional advantage” after she moved on to the stairs. Asked why he at no point challenged Broadhead “on the basis he used disproportionate force”, he said his colleague’s actions had brought the high-risk situation to a “safe halt”. The hearing continues.