THIS is the moment firearms officers safely disarmed a man as he marched towards them carrying two knives, in footage captured on body cameras now being rolled out to police across the West Midlands.
The video shows armed police racing towards a residential block in Birmingham city centre following reports that a man had stabbed two knives into a wooden reception desk.
Staff locked themselves in an office and called police, who were faced by Aron Tesfalem as he left the block, at around 7pm on 3 October.
The images show how Tesfalem was ordered around 10 times to drop the knives before officers, who have their guns drawn, decided to deploy the Taser.
The force has released the images to show the threats firearms officers routinely face, as well as the power of body worn video (BWV) in capturing vital evidence for court.
Tesfalem, 20, later told police he was drunk and angry after a laptop he had paid £400 for failed to materialise, and that he had not understood the officers’ commands.
He said he did not know what his intentions with the knives were. He pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a bladed article following the confrontation, outside the block where he lived on William Booth Lane, Birmingham city centre.
On 2 November at Birmingham Crown Court, he was jailed for a year.
Chief Inspector Danny Delaney, from the firearms unit, said: “This incident is an example of the professionalism and restraint West Midlands firearms officers demonstrate when dealing with highly volatile violent incidents.
“Officers undergo 14 weeks of intensive training where they are trained to deal with all types of situations, always trying to use the minimum amount of force necessary.
“The firearms operations unit provide a response to armed criminality and violent incidents 24/7.
“They are managed via an effective intelligence-led patrol strategy which ensures armed response vehicles are in the best location to provide a prompt response to these types of incidents in support of their unarmed colleagues.”
More than 1,400 West Midlands Police officers have been issued with BWV cameras. They are used whenever officers are called to domestic incidents, and are routinely used when officers are required to exercise their authority, for example making arrests or carrying out stop and search.
Within the next six months, all frontline officers are expected to receive their own camera, and all other officers will have access to cameras if they need them.
Acting Sergeant Will Salt, the force’s expert on body worn video, said: “The cameras are able to show exactly how events unfolded and provide the best possible evidence in court, often when people are contesting versions of events.
“They are an important tool in our commitment to be transparent and open with the public.
“Officers are asking me when they will get their own cameras, because they feel that they will help protect them against complaints and assist in bringing offenders to justice.
“There have been occasions where officers have spoken to people who have been injured while the scene of an assault, or vulnerable victims of domestic abuse.
“This has meant that officers have been able to pursue a prosecution, in cases where the victim would otherwise have not been willing or able to come to court.”