Use of CS spray against 16-year-old was justified

An investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has concluded that a police officer was justified in using CS Spray against a youth who was acting aggressively and resisting arrest during an incident in Derry/Londonderry in February 2016.

The youth had initially been detained by a member of the public after breaking a glass door at a butcher’s shop in the city centre.

A police officer who was on foot patrol nearby went to the scene, but told Police Ombudsman investigators that the youth became aggressive and refused to co-operate or provide his details.

He said the youth became violent and screamed wildly when he tried to restrain him. He also  confronted another officer who, along with another colleague, had arrived to deal with the incident.

Officer was concerned that crowd might attack.

The officer added that a crowd of youths was gathering nearby, and he was concerned that they might attack.

He then took the decision to use CS Spray, which allowed the officers to restrain the youth and apply handcuffs. He was then given aftercare for the effects of the spray, before being arrested for criminal damage, resisting arrest and obstructing police.

One of the other officers who had dealt with the incident said he too had drawn his CS Spray, but did not use it when he realised it had already been deployed.

The man who had initially reported the criminal damage to police confirmed that the youth had been aggressive and was resisting police.

The officer who used CS Spray was found to have been properly trained and authorised to use it at the time of the incident.

The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the use of CS Spray had been lawful necessary and proportionate.


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