20 May 2021 | Investigations
Investigation Report: Discharge of Captor spray involving BTP in Paisley
Just after 9pm on Monday 24 February 2020, at County Square, Paisley, Renfrewshire, following an incident within Paisley Gilmour Street Railway Station, a British Transport Police (BTP) officer discharged Captor Incapacitant spray during the arrest of a 20-year-old man. The incident began after staff at the station reported that the man had, a short time earlier, indecently exposed himself.
BTP officers were immediately sent to the incident and found the man, who appeared intoxicated, at the station in the company of others.
They tried to communicate with the man, who became aggressive and, following a struggle, assaulted both officers and ran away. He was pursued by the officers and during the chase, the man stopped, turned towards an officer who he had seized by the hair and punched during the initial struggle and adopted a threatening stance. Fearing for her safety, the officer discharged her Captor Incapacitant spray at the man. The man ran off but, following a violent struggle, he was apprehended by other officers.
The man became breathless and vomited. He told the officers that he suffered from asthma. As a result, one of the BTP officers provided the man with her personal asthma inhaler, which alleviated his breathlessness. Paramedics who subsequently attended the scene examined the man and found that he was not injured as a result of the incident.
REFERRAL TO THE PIRC
On 25 February 2020, BTP referred the incident to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) in terms of Section 33A (c) of the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 (as amended) and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Investigations Procedure, Serious Incidents and Specified Weapons) Regulations 2013.
The PIRC decided to investigate the use of Captor Incapacitant spray during the incident to ascertain if its use was necessary, justified and proportionate in the circumstances.
During the course of the investigation, PIRC investigators obtained and reviewed statements from police witnesses, examined command and control incident logs, CCTV and Body Worn Camera evidence and force standard operating procedures.
They also obtained and examined Training Records which confirmed that both officers were trained and authorised to use Captor and personal safety training equipment at the time of the incident.
The investigation finds that:
- Given the demeanour and actions of the man including the resistance shown to the police officers, the discharge of the Captor Incapacitant spray was proportionate, necessary and justified to ensure the police officer’s safety.
- To assist and prevent further deterioration of the man’s breathing, a BTP officer administered her personal Salbutamol inhaler to the man. This had the effect of alleviating his breathlessness.
No recommendations are made.