Officer’s use of PAVA was ‘necessary and justified’

An independent report has found that police were justified in discharging PAVA spray at a man acting violently and brandishing a bottle at officers.

Jun 26, 2020
By Paul Jacques

The man was part of a group of men drinking and ignoring emergency coronavirus social distancing guidelines.

When Police Scotland officers arrived at a flat in the Hebrides on May 19, following a report of a disturbance, they used emergency dispersal powers to warn the men and instructed them to return to their own homes.

One of the men, who had left the house, ignored the police instructions to leave and remained outside. When officers tried to speak to him, he brandished a glass bottle at them, struck an officer on the hand with the bottle and then threw it at the other officers showering them with broken glass.

Due to the level of violence being displayed by the man, one of the officers discharged PAVA irritant spray at him, but it failed to make contact.

The man then ran off and was pursued by the officers. On being arrested, he struggled violently and attempted to spit on the officers. He was brought under control and handcuffed.

The man appeared in court the following day and is awaiting trial.

Police Scotland referred the incident to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), which found the police officers involved in the incident “conducted themselves professionally and appropriately”.

It added: “Our investigation report found that the use of the PAVA irritant spray was proportionate, necessary and justified to bring the situation under control, arrest the man and prevent injury to the officers.”

The PIRC investigation focused on the police response to the incident under Covid-19 restrictions and procedures, and investigators obtained statements from police officers and examined STORM Command and Control incident logs and briefing papers.

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