HC Deb 11 February 1997 vol 290 cc151-2W
Mr. Maclean

The Home Office has not issued any guidance to police forces on the use of pepper spray. It is for chief police officers to decide what defensive equipment to issue to their officers. None has issued pepper sprays.

The use of any force is the responsibility of the individual officer concerned, and is governed by section 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967, which provides that a person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting the lawful arrest of suspected offenders.

The Home Office police scientific development branch initially reviewed data on the effects of oleoresin capsicum on human health in response to a request from the Association of Chief Police Officers to consider its use to incapacitate ferocious dogs used by drug dealers.