A Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) report has found that police were justified in their use of PAVA spray to arrest two men.

The irritant spray, known as PAVA, was used in an attempt to control a 32-year-old man and a 26-year-old man, one of whom was carrying a knife during the incident in Milngavie town centre on 17 August last year.

The independent PIRC report published today (Thursday 4 April) found that officers from Police Scotland had been called to the scene by a CCTV operator who had seen the 26-year-old man with a machete type weapon trying to get into a local bar, with the intent of threatening or causing serious injury to a member of the public.  Bar staff had also reported the incident.

The officers who went to the incident were aware that one of the men had previously stood trial on a charge of deliberately striking and injuring a police officer with a car.

This influenced their choice of tactics when they arrived at the scene and saw the men attempting to flee the area in a car. In an attempt to stop the vehicle, an officer struck the car with his baton then used PAVA spray on the passenger when he got out of the car and ran off. The officer also discharged his PAVA spray at the driver as he was manoeuvring the car. However, he managed to drive off.

The two men were later arrested and charged with a number of offences and have since been convicted.

The PIRC report found that the actions of officers were proportionate and justified, given that both men posed a threat to police and public safety.

The incident was referred to the PIRC by Police Scotland for independent investigation on 24 August 2018. The investigation examined how police handled the incident and the decision-making around the use of the PAVA spray. No recommendations were made.

You can read the full report and findings here.