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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 194630 Find in a Library
Title: Capsicum Spray: The Record to Date
Author(s): Ian Ireland
Corporate Author: Parliament of Australia Dept of the Parliamentary Library
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: Parliament of Australia Dept of the Parliamentary Library
Canberra ACT 2600, Australia
Sale Source: Parliament of Australia Dept of the Parliamentary Library
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600,
Document: HTML
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This article discusses the use of capsicum spray by police as a tool for subduing citizens exhibiting violent or destructive behaviors. The physical effects of the spray are relayed and information is offered concerning the use of capsicum spray in Australia.
Abstract: The author begins this article by recounting the fact that in December 2001, a 33-year-old man died in police custody in Brisbane after being subdued by police using capsicum spray. A heart attack is the suspected cause of death. This case highlights the fact that there is controversy surrounding the use of capsicum spray. The author notes that a number of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have questioned the use of the spray by police. Furthermore, police use of capsicum spray has been rejected in the United Kingdom because of its possible carcinogenic properties. The physical effects of capsicum spray include intense burning, swelling, blistering, inability to breathe or speak, respiratory arrest, and acute hypertension. However, proponents of the spray point out that its benefits outweigh its potential dangers. They suggest that use of the spray results in fewer and less serious injuries to police and citizens. Also, its deterrent effects mean that violent behavior is minimized during potentially dangerous situations. The article goes on to recount the use of capsicum spray by police in Australia. The findings of a 1999 report of the use of the spray in Queensland demonstrate that the spray was found to be effective in subduing violent offenders. No deaths, injuries, or other medical problems were reported as a result of the use of capsicum spray. However, the report did not find support for the notion that use of the spray by police served as a deterrent to violence directed at police. The concluding comments by the author give support to the police use of capsicum spray as an additional tool in subduing dangerous offenders without the use of lethal force.
Main Term(s): Police use of deadly force
Index Term(s): Australia; Foreign police; Less lethal technologies; Oleoresin Capsicum (OC)/Pepper Spray; Police policies and procedures
Note: Downloaded March 5, 2002
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