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NCJ Number: 201684 Find in a Library
Title: What's Good for Them, Is Good for Us: Outside Influences on the Adoption of Incapacitant Sprays by the British Police
Journal: International Journal of Police Science & Management  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:Summer 2003  Pages:98-111
Author(s): John W. Buttle
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 14
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article reviews the history of and the rationale for the adoption of incapacitant sprays (mace and pepper sprays) in the United States and in England and Wales, reviews the research on the health and operational implications of using such sprays on humans, and questions the assumptions underlying the adoption of incapacitant sprays for policing purposes; the implications of adopting other nonlethal weapons for use in policing are also considered.
Abstract: In assessing the adoption of pepper spray for use in subduing resisting suspects in the United States, the author concludes that it had more to do with good police public relations than with the protection of citizens and police officers. The use of pepper spray has not reduced police/citizen shootings (Bailey, 1996a) nor decreased the number of times that force is used (Keppeler et al., 1998). Further, it is debatable as to whether pepper spray can be considered a lower level of force than the baton, given the pain suffered by those sprayed. In England and Wales, the equipping of police with ortho chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS) spray was occasioned by increasing concern about police officers' inability to protect themselves against assaults. Field trials conducted during 1996 over 6 months found that officers were more confident in their ability to handle potentially violent situations when they were armed with CS spray; however, the data obtained during the street trials from incident trials and formal complaints of assault were unclear about how effective CS spray was in protecting officers from assaults. This article concludes that the adoption of incapacitant sprays has failed to achieve policy objectives and may have put the health of police officers and members of the public in jeopardy. Unless more and better research is conducted on the health and operational issues regarding the use of incapacitant sprays, their use will continue to be debated. The same is true for other nonlethal weapons used by police, such as tasers. 1 figure and 66 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Foreign police; Less lethal technologies; Oleoresin Capsicum (OC)/Pepper Spray; United Kingdom (UK); United States of America
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