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TheMoo

The Initial Roll-Out of CS gas/spray

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TheMoo

This might be a question for those...longer in the tooth, shall we say?

From looking at the how Taser was progressively rolled out (starting with Firearms and Specialist units, then to selected officers on Response, and then progressively opened up to more), it got me to thinking:

When incapacitant/irritant sprays were first introduced, how were they done? What was the reaction and impressions of it when it was being rolled out?

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Jimbo26

In my force CS was rolled out to all officers straightaway, there was no progressieve roll out. Initially you had all the media horror stories of how bad this was and how people with asthma would die etc etc., not dissimilar to the Taser debates now. Over time it settled down and became the norm. 

The first person I used CS on whent to the press and there was a big story in the local rag with this young man looking sad with bloodshot eyes.

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CountyCop
5 hours ago, Jimbo26 said:

In my force CS was rolled out to all officers straightaway, there was no progressieve roll out. Initially you had all the media horror stories of how bad this was and how people with asthma would die etc etc., not dissimilar to the Taser debates now. Over time it settled down and became the norm. 

The first person I used CS on whent to the press and there was a big story in the local rag with this young man looking sad with bloodshot eyes.

My first force issued it to all officers, however my second issued it only to traffic and firearms before switching to PAVA. PAVA was rolled out to all officers.

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Radman

From what I've heard BTP was fairly late to the CS/PAVA party, it only ever being widely rolled out around 00/01.

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Phil

I came across this video on YouTube the other day by accident. Gives you an idea about the public perception in 1997

 

 

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Straker

I wonder when the public order manual was updated to say that incapacitant spray was not to be used? Which from looking at the video above seems to have been the case here?

I have a feeling it was some time after the introduction of CS spray rather than before it was issued. Unlike CS smoke which had been around in the manual and used in 1981, when the politicians promptly bricked it and made it on the authority of the Home Secretary only.

Wasn't BTP due to not wanting to contaminate trains or especially the underground with CS powder after use and thus looking for alternatives which eventually resulted in PAVA being issued?

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Jimbo26
10 hours ago, Straker said:

I wonder when the public order manual was updated to say that incapacitant spray was not to be used? Which from looking at the video above seems to have been the case here?

 

In the initial training in CS we were told never to use it on crowds.

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MindTheGap
17 hours ago, Straker said:

I wonder when the public order manual was updated to say that incapacitant spray was not to be used? Which from looking at the video above seems to have been the case here?

I have a feeling it was some time after the introduction of CS spray rather than before it was issued. Unlike CS smoke which had been around in the manual and used in 1981, when the politicians promptly bricked it and made it on the authority of the Home Secretary only.

Wasn't BTP due to not wanting to contaminate trains or especially the underground with CS powder after use and thus looking for alternatives which eventually resulted in PAVA being issued?

Not quite, essentially BTP's late adoption of CS (starting in 1999 on the L Area) required individual permits from the Home Sec for each officer, as the exemption under S54 of the Firearms Act didn't include any of the 'special police forces'.

 

They very swiftly moved away from CS, around 2004/5 to Captor 1 and then Captor 2 in 2011 for the above reason.

 

My trainer was in West Midlands Police in 1995/6, and they were one of the first forces to trial CS. The result of a female officer being attacked with a sledgehammer. Initially starting out as a 'CS' car (much like how Taser is deployed in some forces today), then after a year's trial in 1996 all officers were issued with it. In it's infancy it was used quite 'liberally' apparently, each set the inspector bringing down a fresh box of canisters and swapping everyone's to new ones as they'd used them but that settled down. They even had a CS audit book they had to sign after that, signing it in and out of a safe.

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Bradders2175
On 07/01/2019 at 00:19, TheMoo said:

This might be a question for those...longer in the tooth, shall we say?

From looking at the how Taser was progressively rolled out (starting with Firearms and Specialist units, then to selected officers on Response, and then progressively opened up to more), it got me to thinking:

When incapacitant/irritant sprays were first introduced, how were they done? What was the reaction and impressions of it when it was being rolled out?

As a Defensive Skills Instructor with Essex Police, we introduced them as quickly as we could. Front line Officers had priority with the Desk Jockeys falling in towards the end. Three DSI's in our Division would teach two courses a day of around ten Officers a time. We had Officers from Rayleigh and Southend Divisions to teach and equip. Southend Division had around 330 Officers at the time. Rayleigh not so many. On top of that were Specials. It tok a while as we could only run the courses when Officers could be spared. It was an attendance Course really, not a pass/fail. The final part of the course was experiencing the spray itself. A 5% of the issued dose was used, but as a cloud rather than a directional spray. We used the car wash in the yard at Southend Police Station as it was as far away from the buildings as you could get. A line was laid on the ground with the victims, sorry Officers waiting in the car wash. They then had to walk through it breathing normally. The general effect was irritation, with runny nose and eyes, but on quite a few occasions the effects were sometimes astounding, with Officers collapsing to the floor in great discomfort and even crying. Having seen the effects of the spray and how debilitating it could be, I decided that use of CS Spray for me, would be the last resort, after the baton, rather than before. I never used CS in my service, but used my baton on many occasions.

I would have preferred that pepper spray be introduced as I felt that was more effective and could also be used successfully on dangerous dogs.

I only found out afterwards that some Officers were running a sweep on who would be the quickest to use it after their course. One Tw*t took ten minutes from going back on duty, using it on an awkward passenger on a bus, despite just having been warned about using it in confined spaces with others nearby. Several innocent people were affected and the bus had to be taken out of service. 

I think there were quite a few Officers that were aware of how powerful it could be and also were reticent to use it. It was quite interesting being out and about and people that had been sprayed in the past warning others to moderate their behaviour! 

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ParochialYokal
Posted (edited)
On 07/01/2019 at 17:00, Radman said:

From what I've heard BTP was fairly late to the CS/PAVA party, it only ever being widely rolled out around 00/01.

I am not sure if it was that late? 

I seem to recall that the first use of it was at Stratford Station (London)- possibly on someone experiencing mental health issues. But a quick look on Google cannot provide a source for that. 

(edit)

You are right. I found this archived document on line, which was written in the early noughties, and seems to suggest that the introduction of CS spray was a recent thing.

I still know that I read somewhere about the first use of CS spray at Stratford station but I can't find anything in Google.

Edited by ParochialYokal

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Richhamdo
On 06/01/2019 at 23:19, TheMoo said:

This might be a question for those...longer in the tooth, shall we say?

From looking at the how Taser was progressively rolled out (starting with Firearms and Specialist units, then to selected officers on Response, and then progressively opened up to more), it got me to thinking:

When incapacitant/irritant sprays were first introduced, how were they done? What was the reaction and impressions of it when it was being rolled out?

@TheMoo Sorry for the late reply but have only just seen your post. . I am definitely long in the tooth so feel I can reply to your query re initial  issue of CS gas. (Tear Gas). It was well named because I well recall  my first training in the use of it. I’m not sure for certain exactly  when it was unless I find my old use of force training  book in the garage with the training  dates in it but think it was about when we got the asp, rigid cuff as well. I will say my best guess was the the summer of ninety seven . We did the training but it was a few months  before we got issued it because there were not enough lockers on the wall for us to keep it in. I wasn’t bothered in the least  to be honest when we got it, after you had been in  twenty/thirty   years you were well used to waiting for uniform  for this that and the other. Ha. 

I can remember it as though it was yesterday, about twelve of us give or take a couple standing in line on the grass outside the gym. Then the trainer spraying us as he walked along. We had been told not to rub our eyes but all of us were running around in pain and I’m certain that after that I couldn’t see the small print in the radio times as well, if that was training  solution he used I will eat hay with a donkey.

The first two or three hours of our Sunday at hq was given over to the use of gas and asp/cuff in the classroom, usual stuff about going through the various stages of conflict resolution, eventually  asking the offender if any thing I could say to them would make them behave in a civilised manner,  so to speak, etc,etc. The next bit involved being given a canister with water in it and saying to my partner who I think had one of those rubber batons  coming at me in an aggressive manner and trying to lay into me and me holding my hand up and saying “stay back,stay back.”  Then giving them a dose before he/she got close. That was the only training I got in the use of gas so it wasn’t much. Mind you it’s not exactly rocket science is it  . I think it must have been something to do with providing and paying for the mock canisters, probably would need one for every police officer and special in the force, so a tidy sum. ..We certainly had plenty of training with the baton, cuff, and leg restraints after that (twice a year) , so it’s a bit strange how much they thought of it. 

I would have used it before the asp  personally , but never had to use either in the time I was in the specials. In fact for what it’s worth I only used my truncheon once to break a kitchen window one night, which I still regret doing because it put a big scratch on it,😀.

I  thought the cs was a bit of good stuff actually (the pava was more user friendly)because on quite a few occasions I /we could have done with it on Friday or Saturday night, especially for the two burglars we caught red handed after the delayed alarm went off in the paint factory. They came at my reg partner and myself with batons of wood. (We told them to put the wood down and they saw sense) And not forgetting that big gorilla,  where it took four of us to hold him down and get him in the van . 

But I must say when I think back I suspect  that no one ever thought any more about it  than you would do your baton. As long as you put it back in its proper wall locker when you went home everyone was happy, and someone checked the lockers often to make sure you had not just left it on your belt. . Rich.

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Stephen Maize

Do you think it was a mistake to use CS spray on the protesters?

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Reasonable Man
23 hours ago, Stephen Maize said:

Do you think it was a mistake to use CS spray on the protesters?

No. 

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Richhamdo
On 09/07/2019 at 21:01, Stephen Maize said:

Do you think it was a mistake to use CS spray on the protesters?

@Stephen Maize. Unfortunately we dont have sufficient info or overall picture from the film to go on. What we do have and can see and hear has no doubt been edited to suit the person who produced it. 

However, from what I could see the police had little or no option but to use the gas because the protesters wouldn’t play the game. They had been asked to stay back, I have little doubt the people had  been asked several times beforehand  to protest peacefully, even if its the case they are protesting about cruise missiles, fox hunting, Star Wars or whatever because thats how it all usually works. But some no doubt weren’t happy to stand passively by and maybe wanted to open gates to enter some premises and then presumably let some animals escape, but I am only speculating on that bit. 

From my experience of policing in  the time I was helping out as a special constable, the very last thing those bobbies we saw trying to keep the peace would have wanted was to use their cs spray, they  would have wanted a nice calm peaceful protest /atmosphere with the minimal amount of admin or paperwork at the end of the day. Not only that but  they get the crystals from the cs on their clothes as well,  that stuff tended to linger for quite a while on uniform as I recall. I think they were left with no alternative on this occasion.

Not sure if you remember the Vietnam protests in Grosvenor Square, its going back a few years admittedly. We were shown the film and discussed it quite a few times in our evening training sessions  back in the day. That all started off peacefully until several troublemakers [or anarchists if you like] started to stir it up and it all went pear shaped. Again the police were forced to up their game or lose it altogether. 

So weighing it all up I would say it was reasonable force given the equipment they had at the time and the few officers that had to sort it. Incidentally,  if I was one of those protesters causing trouble I would much prefer to be gassed than to be hit on the arm or leg with a baton/truncheon, even though the cs was nasty stuff and hurt like h—l if you got it in the eyes. They say the pava is better but I wouldn’t know about that, its supposed to be better controlling trouble making doggies who want to bite you though. 

By the way, I often put my gas in my pocket ready for instant use if I knew I was going into what I thought might be a tricky situation, it was my preferred use of force choice, fortunately as I may have said, I never felt the need to use it. Rich.

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Stephen Maize

 

Richhamdo,

People who write comments on the video mocking them are doing a disservice.

They don’t respect people and give thoughtful answers like you do.

We need more good people on here like you.

 

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful answer. 

 

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