Police Volunteers to Have CS Sprays
Jason Bennetto Crime Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
Part-time volunteer police officers are to be armed with CS sprays in a move that has outraged civil liberty campaigners who believe the public could be endangered.
Special constables in North Yorkshire are to be given several hours of training before they are equipped with the hand-held devices while on patrol and during other operational duties. Other forces are expected to adopt a similar policy. Constabularies throughout England and Wales were given the go-ahead last August to issue CS sprays.
The civil rights group Liberty yesterday expressed deep concern about the development and argued that unpaid officers with limited experience should not be armed with such potentially dangerous equipment. The incapacitant takes immediate effect and causes streaming eyes and nose, eyelid spasm, breathing difficulties, and in some cases blistering of the skin. Two chief constables - of the Surrey and Hertfordshire forces - are refusing to arm their officers with CS spray because of the possible side-effects. The spray was introduced to tackle the growing number of attacks on police officers. Six-month trials held earlier this year resulted in a drop in the number of assaults. CS sprays were used on 582 occasions during which five people needed hospital treatment but no one suffered long-term damage. John Wadham, director of Liberty, said: "We are already very concerned about the use of CS gas sprays by full-time …
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Publication information: Article title: Police Volunteers to Have CS Sprays. Contributors: Jason Bennetto Crime Correspondent - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 11, 1996. Page number: 9. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.