HC Deb 10 February 1998 vol 306 c110W
Dan Norris

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what medical advice he has received in relation to the use of gas canisters by the police since their introduction; [28161]

(2) what assessments of injuries sustained by members of the public he has evaluated since the introduction of CS gas canisters; [28163]

(3) what plans he has to review the use of CS gas canisters by the police; [28164]

(4) what medical advice his Department obtained prior to introducing the use of CS canisters by the police. [28162]

Mr. Michael

All available scientific and medical data were evaluated by experts from the Home Office Police Scientific Development Branch, the Department of Health and the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment before operational trials of CS spray were undertaken between 1 March and 31 August 1996. It was found during the trials that the risk of injury from the use of CS spray was much lower than that from police batons. Of the 99 injuries believed to have been caused by CS, six resulted in subjects being taken to hospital, although none was detained there more than briefly. There has been no subsequent centrally co-ordinated assessment of injuries sustained as a result of exposure to CS spray.

My right hon. Friend studied all of the pathologists' reports and other medical and toxicological evidence submitted to the inquest which was held last year into the death of Mr. Ibrahima Sey. In the light of reading that material, my right hon. Friend confirmed his full support for the operational use of CS spray by the police. The use of CS spray and other equipment is kept under review by the Self Defence and Restraint Committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers.