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HOME SECRETARY BACKS POLICE USE OF CS SPRAY

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Police should be able to use CS spray to protect themselves in the ...
Police should be able to use CS spray to protect themselves in the

violent and dangerous situations they face home secretary Jack Straw

told senior police officers.

Speaking at the ACPO dinner in the West Midlands, Mr Straw said:

'We expect officers to take daily risks on our behalf. They do a dangerous and difficult job extremely well.

'Protecting the community from serious crime will often lead

them into violent, high risk situations. During last year alone,

more than 15,000 officers were assaulted and the number of serious

attacks rose for the third year running to 900.

'Police officers deserve the best protection that we can provide. That is why I believe CS spray should be available to the

police service as an effective tool for self-defence, a deterrent to

potentially violent suspects.

'I have read all of the pathologist's reports and other medical

and toxicological evidence submitted to the Ibrahima Sey inquest.

The Coroner's recommendations might lead one to think that the

inquest had seen evidence which cast doubts on the acceptability of

CS spray but I am satisfied this is not the case.

'There is nothing in the evidence to suggest that CS and the

solvent MIBK, separately or in combination, present any significant

threat to human health.

'John Giffard, chairman of the ACPO self-defence committee has

advised all chief constables there is no reason to suspend the use of

CS incapacitants when used within the appropriate guidelines. I am

sure this is right and strongly support the continued use of this

equipment which, I believe is helping to protect the lives of police

officers as they go about their duties.'

-- The home secretary was speaking at the ACPO dinner which marks the

end of the annual autumn conference.

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