Spraying drunk man accused of attacking police was justified

Police officers used Pava spray against a drunk man who allegedly threatened them with a glass bottle in the Hebrides.

Police were justified in using a pepper-like spray on a drunk man who allegedly attacked them with a bottle, a watchdog has found.

The man had been with a larger group of drinkers and was ignoring government guidelines regarding the coronavirus pandemic, a report said.

The incident took place after police were called to a flat in the Hebrides on Tuesday, May 19, following reports of a disturbance.

Officers used emergency dispersal powers to warn the men and told them to go home.

However, one of the men, who had left the house, ignored the police instructions and remained outside.

When they tried to speak to him, he allegedly brandished a glass bottle at them, struck one on the hand with it before throwing it at the other officers and showering them with broken glass.

One of the officers discharged Pava irritant spray at him, but it failed to make contact.

The man then ran off and was chased by the officers.

On being arrested, he allegedly struggled violently and attempted to spit on the officers before being brought under control and handcuffed.

The man appeared in court the following day and is awaiting trial.

On May 21, Police Scotland referred the incident to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).

The investigation found that the use of the irritant spray was “proportionate, necessary and justified to bring the situation under control, arrest the man and prevent injury to the officers”.

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