Published Date: 13.11.2006
The Police Ombudsman's Office has said a police officer was justified when that officer used her CS Spray on a man during an incident in north Belfast.
The police officer, who is based at Tennent Street, had been on duty with a colleague on the Antrim Road in the early hours on November 4 2004 when they saw two men running. The officers gave chase and one of them caught the man at the Antrim Road junction with Hill Street.
A struggle then broke out, the police officer and the man fell to the ground, and the man continue to kick at the officer. The other police officer fired her CS Spray at the man's face and chest. This incapacitated him. He was then handcuffed and taken to the Antrim Road police station.
Police Ombudsman investigators established that just before the incident the two men had been chased by a man in Atlantic Avenue, who had come upon them trying to steal his car.
The investigators asked the man who had been arrested to tell them what had happened, but he declined to do so. They established that there were no witnesses to what happened and that the incident had not been captured on any CCTV systems in the area.
The Police Ombudsman's Office has said that, considering all the available evidence, the use of the spray would appear to have been justified and appropriate: "The available evidence from both police officers appears to justify the use of force. There is no evidence to suggest that the conditions at the time were anything other than as described by the officers."
The Police Ombudsman's Office was asked by the PSNI to investigate all use of CS Spray between August and December 2004. Recommendations from those investigations are now being incorporated into the programme for training police officers in their use of the spray.