Belfast Telegraph

Police have no plans to bin CS sprays

By Brian Hutton
29 November 2004

The PSNI is not contemplating the withdrawal of CS sprays, a spokesperson said today.

Although the force is examining alternatives it has rejected reports that it is considering an end to its use of the controversial chemical.

The irritant, sprayed onto a person's face to disable them, has been used by police officers around 10 times a month in Northern Ireland since August.

"The Police Service of Northern Ireland are not actively considering the withdrawal of CS spray," a spokesperson said today.

"Police monitor the wider alternatives to CS incapacitant spray as a matter of best practice, as they do with all police equipment."

One officer is currently suspended while police carry out an internal investigation into an incident involving CS in Londonderry city centre recently.

The Police Ombudsman has been asked to probe all cases of police use of the chemical spray until the end of this year, when the practice is to be reviewed.

There are 38 ongoing investigations relating to police use of CS since August 5 of this year.

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle on Friday, Superintendent Richard Russell said that there are a number of alternatives to CS sprays.

"We are looking at these very carefully," he said.

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