Monday 20 October 2014

An Outbreak Of Common Sense…

The unnamed officer, from Devon and Cornwall Police, could have faced charges of manslaughter by gross negligence and misconduct in a public office, but on Thursday the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided there was insufficient evidence.
Sally Walsh, a senior lawyer in the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “The evidence suggests that this was a fast-moving incident with events unfolding suddenly and in near darkness - from the police approach to the garden to the petrol igniting the entire incident took less than 41 seconds.”
The officer acted “in a genuine attempt to save Mr Pimlott’s life” on 18 April 2013 and a jury was likely to accept his “reasonable” fear, she added.
“Whilst we cannot know whether Mr Pimlott intended to set himself alight, seeing him douse himself in petrol and holding what appeared to be a lighted match, it was reasonable for the officer to conclude that he intended to,” Ms Walsh said.
“It appears from the evidence that the officer did the best he could in what were clearly very difficult circumstances and that he was faced with a choice of either standing back to allow Mr Pimlott to set himself alight or taking the somewhat lesser risk of applying the Taser in an effort to stop him doing so.”
Quite right. I commend the CPS (and regular readers will know how rare that it!). It now needs to spread to other organisations:
The decision not to press charges means the case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the officer for gross misconduct.
That should be a short investigation, shouldn't it?


Anonymous said...

This should be an interesting use a pun Julia you have lit the blue touch-paper and now stand well back.
All the policing and taser experts will be along in a minute.

MTG said...

I think this case highlights the difficulties in assessing the best options when dealing with psychotic individuals. Yet another disaster points to the folly of issuing them with Taser.

Ian Johnson. said...

I assume that tasers do not create a spark.

Anonymous said...

Doo dee do doo doo doo doo dee do do dee do dee do do dee dee do etc!

Anonymous said...

Whether the taser would cause a spark or not that police officer was damned if he did anything and damned if he didn't. He doesn't get paid enough for shit like that AND then have to face the possibility of a prosecution...FOR WHAT!

Over to you Melv baby! You are, after all the kinda guy that would have done the right thing here.

Budvar said...

Quite MTG, a good old fashioned clubbing with a highly polished iroko/eboney truncheon like in the old days, would have little to no risk of static discharge..

Anonymous said...

Please tell me your ears were burning when you referred to psychotic individuals.
The taser does not produce a spark but it does send an electric current along two wires to a metal barb. Such a current may cause petrol vapour to ignite, though I would suggest the officer felt he had no option but to try anything. That it did not work is a tragedy for all concerned. Now looking forward to all the usual suspects explaining in great detail, how they would have (successfully) dealt with the situation. Back to you Melv, you psychotic wag you.

MTG said...

"... Such a current may? cause petrol vapour to ignite." Not your specialist subject then, Penise.

For more than 150 years, spark ignition of petrol/air mixtures has been pretty convincing. Such predictable and proven reliability is the reason why plod should never fire Taser at someone soaked in petrol.

So here are my additional procedural rules for taserplod training:-
1. Never a give a Taser to an idiot.
2. See rule 1.
3. Never discharge Taser in the vicinity of unsealed flammable liquids/spillages.
4. In any case of doubt, see rule 1.

Northish said...

Yes, why not introduce 1,200 volts at 19 pulses per second into an environment full of petrol vapour, what could possibly go wrong? (from someone who is not a "taser expert", much like the people who use them apparently). Tasers own website suggests doing a "spark test" to make sure that the thing is working. Having said all that, the CPS was correct not to prosecute the officer. Suicide victims need all the help they can get.

Anonymous said...

Bloody tasers! All I see walking down my high street is cops electrocuting random people for no reason whatsover, old ladies, kids, yoots, all squirming as the volts are pumped into then

Furor Teutonicus said...

FF Suicide victims need all the help they can get. FF

No help in the world can do anything for a suicide victim. It is, by definition, TOO LATE.

Or do you mean POTENTIAL suicide victims?

Anonymous said...

Usual waffle from Melvin but no answers.

Anonymous said...

"Usual waffle from Melvin but no answers."

Which part of 'never fire Taser at someone soaked in petrol' has you confused, Jaded?

Anonymous said...

Will bow to your superior inflammatory knowledge but still no mention of how you would have dealt with it. Mind you, you could have tried to talk him out of it and your non-flammable gas stopping the match from igniting. Mind you, the poor bloke would still have died, mainly from boredom!
Come on, Melv, describe your actions. Put up or shut up.

Anonymous said...

That's what you wouldn't do Melvin, now what would you do? I thought you were "educated"?

MTG said...

@ Persuasive Charmer, Penise.

Re: "Put up or shut up."

I will meet your demand...for the greater good. However, as a prior condition, you will briefly outline the training given to a constable in suicide prevention and whether this extends to the manner of initial contact with a person threatening suicide.

Furor Teutonicus said...

You are all asuming it SHOULD have been prevented.


Some soft bastard wants to die, let him.

The only duty I see, is to stop injury/harm to others during the process.

Anonymous said...

I think Melv has identified a training need, so that's an extra chapter in the College of Policing's 'Guide to Arse Wiping the Whole of Society' Manual - plus 17 new forms to complete for 'Self Immolation Incidents' and referral to the IPCC.

Anonymous said...

Cowardly plod, furtively back away. Those dark uniforms must have a yellow lining.

JuliaM said...

"I assume that tasers do not create a spark."

Well, something certainly did!

"...a good old fashioned clubbing with a highly polished iroko/eboney truncheon like in the old days, would have little to no risk of static discharge."

One small problem - who wants to get that close to the nutter covered in petrol?