Levenshulme Station
The man was Tasered near Levenshulme railway station in Manchester Kurt Adkins / Wiki Commons

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have been forced to apologise after a blind man was Tasered when his walking stick was mistaken for a gun.

Armed response officers were called on Thursday evening (23 February) after reports that a man with a gun had been seen at Levenshulme railway station in Manchester.

Officers spotted a man matching the suspect's description on Albert Road, just along from the railway station.

They saw a 43-year-old man "acting agitated" with a folded cane that officers believed was the reported gun. They fired a Taser.

GMP assistant chief constable Garry Shewan told the BBC: "Officers have been with him, and have now apologised for what happened.

"Two witnesses, as well as our firearms officers, believed the man was acting in an agitated manner, and in the dark the folded cane appeared to be a gun.

"An officer decided that in the circumstances, and to ensure the safety of the man and the public, he should deploy a Taser."

He added that an initial review indicated the officer "carried out a suitable risk assessment and, with the information he had available at the time, made what appeared to be an appropriate decision".

The blind man was uninjured and has not filed a complaint against the force. Shewan added that the man "acknowledged that his behaviour could have led to people being concerned".

"The man has accepted our apology and does not wish to make a complaint. However, we will continue to review the situation," Shewan said.

Shopkeeper Tasawar Dar, who runs the nearby Discount Master convenience store, told the Manchester Evening News that he saw armed police arrive at the scene.

He said: "I heard the police here and they shouted, 'lie down on the ground' and there was the bark of a dog as well.

"I saw a guy sitting on the stairs of the station and a police officer came into the shop asking for a can of Coke. They went out and gave it to the guy.

"They made him sit on the stairs. He looked to be a reasonable person. The police were all armed. They had pistols rather than the big guns."

In 2012 Lancashire Police apologised after an officer Tasered a blind stroke sufferer after mistaking his white walking stick for a samurai sword.