Bedfordshire Police has released the following statement in relation to the inquest of Josh Pitt, which concluded today with a verdict of ‘lawful killing’.
Deputy Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said: “Following today’s inquest conclusion of lawful killing our thoughts are first and foremost with the family and friends of Mr Pitt, at what must be an incredibly distressing time for them.
“On the day of this tragic incident officers knew Mr Pitt was armed with knives and was effectively holding his partner hostage, threatening to harm her and himself.
“The officers repeatedly requested for Mr Pitt to put down his weapons, but he refused and continued to move towards them. A Taser was discharged but unfortunately was not effective due to it not making a connection.
“Therefore, to prevent an imminent risk to life an armed officer took the difficult decision to deploy their firearm.
“Following the shot, the officers on scene battled to give Mr Pitt first aid in a bid to save his life.
“Firearms officers have an exceptionally difficult job and their specialist skills mean they are often faced with extremely dangerous situations when there is a threat to the life of others and themselves.
“While discharging a firearm will always be a last resort for officers, they are highly trained to make split-second decisions in order to protect the public and their colleagues.
“While our firearms officers volunteer to take on the additional responsibility of carrying a firearm we cannot underestimate the impact incidents like these will have on them.
“It is vital that such incidents are independently investigated – as it was in this case by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) which found there was no indication at any stage of the investigation that firearms officers breached the standards of professional behaviour.
“We remain grateful to all of our officers who regularly risk their own lives to protect others and the officers involved in this tragic case for the professionalism and bravery they demonstrated throughout.”