'The Police have commenced the operational deployment of the taser. This equipment has been made available to specially trained firearms officers to provide them with a less lethal option in incidents where they are confronted with an armed individual, and the officers and members of the public are at risk of serious injury or death.'
It will be relevant to the IPCC investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Raoul Moat in the early hours of Saturday morning, close to the village of Rothbury.
The offices involved were certainly confronted by an armed individual; it is clear from the reports and the statements made by the temporary chief constable of Northumbria Police that during the 'negotiations' no member of the public was at risk. They had all been moved away from the scene.
The IPCC's investigation will therefore concentrate on the threats Moat made to the police. We have yet to hear about threats of any nature being made at, or before Moat's death. Threats made by him days, or even hours, earlier cannot fulfil this criterion.
About the use of the taser, Northumbia's temporary chief constable said this during one of her announcements:
"During this time officers discharged Taser. However this did not prevent his death."
The use of the weapon is not meant to ' prevent his death' it's used, as an alternative to a lethal weapon to protect the police or the public when they are threatened by an armed individual.
Update 13th July
It is now being reported that the taser was indeed used in an attempt to 'prevent [moat's] suicide'. It was not a type the Home Office had approved, and I doubt whether this statement from the Home Office would extend the discretion of its use 'to prevent suicide.
"However, legally, police forces have discretion to use any equipment they see fit as long as the use of force is lawful, reasonable and proportionate.
This use is way, way outside that contemplated in the ACPO guidelines.