§ Mr. Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been injured as a consequence of(a) using and (b) being exposed to CS gas. 278W
§ Mr. Michael
This information is not held centrally. During police trials of CS spray, between 1 March and 31 August 1996, it was found that 78 per cent. (588) of officers who sprayed CS suffered some cross-contamination effects, such as a burning sensation to the skin or pain to the eyes. The report of the evaluation of the trials, which was published by the Home Office Police Research Group in December 1996, noted that, in some cases, officers appeared to have reported their experience of CS cross-contamination as minor injury. The officers who took part in the trials generally felt that the disadvantages of cross-contamination were outweighed by the advantages of CS spray as an item of defensive equipment.