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Police Scotland officers justified in use of PAVA, says PIRC

Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has found that officers were justified in their use of PAVA spray on a man threatening them with violence.

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

Officers arrived at a flat in the Hebrides on Tuesday 19 May 2020 in response to reports of a disturbance. They used emergency dispersal powers and instructed the group to return home.

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

One of the officers discharged PAVA irritant spray at him but it failed to make contact.

The man then ran off and officers pursued and arrested him. 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.

On 21 May, Police Scotland referred the incident to PIRC. Their investigation 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”.

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