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8 February 2018, 13:47
Firearms officers were justified in shooting out the tyres of a car which had rammed a police vehicle, a watchdog has ruled.
Officers used two rounds on the vehicle in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, in April last year.
Steven McArdle, one of nine men jailed last month for their part in a serious organised crime gang, is understood to have been in the car.
The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (Pirc) has concluded that officers were "proportionate" in their use of two shotgun tyre deflation rounds (TDRs) to bring the car to a stop due to the "high risk" posed to the public and police.
The findings were sent to the Scottish force in October last year but could only be made public following the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.
McArdle, 33, who has a record of previous convictions for crimes of dishonesty, disorder and violence, was jailed for seven years and 100 days at the High Court in Glasgow in January for his involvement in the gang.
Under current regulations, all incidents involving the use of firearms by police in Scotland have to be referred to the Pirc for an independent investigation.
The findings from Commissioner Kate Frame - which do not name anybody involved - reveal that Police Scotland was investigating a number of firearms incidents which they believed were linked to an ongoing feud.
Officers found out that the car in question was in Thorndene Avenue, at Carfin, Motherwell, on the evening of April 19 last year.
When officers arrived in the street and tried to stop the car, the driver reversed into a police vehicle.
Pirc said that seven firearms officers pointed their weapons at the occupants and two of the officers fired a TDR, one into each of the rear wheels, to prevent the car from moving, and officers then arrested three men.
Ms Frame said: "The police had reliable intelligence they were dealing with a suspect who had a history of violence and access to firearms.
"They also had information he was planning to carry out an act of serious violence that day and therefore posed a high risk to the public and the police.
"Taking all this into account, when the car was used to ram the police vehicle the firearms officers were justified in using Tyre Deflation Rounds to disable the car to prevent the suspect escaping and any harm coming to the officers and public."