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CS Spray Law United Kingdom

There are several types of defence sprays that are legal to own and use. But, carrying and using CS spray in the UK is not a legal option to defend yourself from an attacker.

What is CS Spray Made Of?

CS gets its name from the initials of its inventors ‘Corson and Staughton’.

It combines a compound called o-chlorobenzylidine malononitrile (a white crystalline substance) and an inert solvent called methyl iso-butyl ketone (MiBK).

CS spray becomes most toxic when it gets expelled as a liquid jet from the canister. Upon contact with air, the CS compound suspended in the liquid part (MiBK) separates from the matrix liquid.

The law classifies any canister of any description, whether designed or adapted for the discharge of CS spray as a prohibited weapon.

When do the Police use CS Spray?

Police officers receive proper and regular training in the use of CS spray. They can and will use it if they believe it to be appropriate. As a rule. this occurs most when officers feel that an offender poses a risk to themselves or to others nearby.

Is it Illegal to Sell CS Spray in the United Kingdom?

Yes it is illegal to sell CS spray because of its ‘prohibited firearm’ classification. Being found in possession of it can lead to a prison sentence between six (6) months and ten (10) years and a fine.

What are the Effects after Being Sprayed by CS Gas?

There are several immediate effects experienced if you get sprayed with CS compound, including:

  • A burning sensation.
  • A tightness in the chest.
  • Coughing.
  • Discomfort in and around the eyes.

Note: It can also cause the skin to redden and feel hot to the touch for up to one (1) hour. As a rule, the other common symptoms of CS spray will disappear after half an hour or so.

Bathing your face and your eyes in cool, clean running water will speed up the recovery process. But, you should consult your doctor if any of the symptoms persist.

Note: The compound can cause damage to certain kinds of contact lenses. It is best to consult an optician if you experience a problem with contacts.

PAVA Incapacitant Spray

Some police forces have started using a similar incapacitant spray called PAVA. They will dispense it in much the same way as CS – from a handheld canister in liquid form.

PAVA is very effective when sprayed into the eyes. It has a strong burning effect that lasts for about the same period. But, it does not share the other common side effects to any great degree.

PAVA Spray Side Effects

In this case PAVA stands for Pelargonyl Vanillylamide (a synthetic pepper spray). It can affect the eyes which may cause them to close (causing severe pain). Some reports suggest the eye pain is greater than that caused by CS sprays.

The rate of effectiveness can diminish if the subject is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. As a rule, an exposure to fresh moving air results in a significant recovery from the side effects of PAVA (20 to 30 minutes).

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Answers to Police Questions about CS Spray Laws in the United Kingdom