Mental health patient with Samurai sword Tasered twice by Plymouth police
A PATIENT released from a mental health unit after being declared "no risk" was Tasered twice by police after he brandished a Samurai sword in a city street.
Health chiefs have now launched an investigation after it was revealed the man had been granted home leave from the hospital in Ivybridge.
Officers were confronted by the man near a bus stop in Devonport Road following calls from worried members of the public.
The man was said to be carrying a sheathed Samurai sword and officers were granted authorisation to use Tasers to detain the man.
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Police have confirmed the man refused to comply with instructions to drop the sword and was Tasered as he reached Milehouse Road.
However, police said the man then drew his sword from its sheath and began to approach officers, whereupon the man was Tasered a second time.
Following inquiries by police the man was returned to Lee Mill hospital in Ivybridge which had previously declared him "not deemed to be a risk to themselves or others".
The unit offers services to people with mental health, learning disability or substance misuse.
A shocked witness told The Herald she came across the dramatic scene after picking up a friend from Devonport.
The 54-year-old woman, who asked to remain anonymous, and her husband were driving through Stoke Village at around 9am on Sunday.
She said they saw a man "swinging" a sword and cutting through Taser wires attached to him before he was detained.
She said: "It's the first time I've ever seen anything like that in my life. It was a bit frightening and police were very brave." A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said inquiries were "continuing" into the incident.
The spokesman said: "He was Tasered twice because after the first Taser activation he did not drop the weapon and posed a substantial threat."
The Taser incapacitates subjects by passing 50,000 volts of electricity into the body via two 21ft wires. It disrupts the muscles of the offender, with the intention of rendering them incapable of normal movement.
Health bosses say they have launched an investigation into the incident.
Liz Cooney, Director of Governance and Deputy Chief Executive of Plymouth Community Healthcare, said: "Plymouth Community Healthcare can confirm that the individual involved had been granted home leave from the Lee Mill unit following a clinical assessment.
"At the time of granting leave this individual was not deemed to be a risk to themselves or others.
"No persons were harmed during this incident and the individual involved has now been returned to the care of staff at Lee Mill. Plymouth Community Healthcare takes all such incidents very seriously and a full investigation has commenced into the incident."
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