Pepper spray used at peaceful protests again

Once again police have used incapacitant spray against peaceful protesters. The police followed two protesters to Kings College in Cambridge following a protest. They were told by porters that they did not have permission to enter, but they did so anyway and proceeded to arrest the two protesters, one of whom was a sixth-form student. During this incident they are reported to have used incapacitant spray against a number of students. Commonly referred to as Pepper Spray, incapacitant spray used by UK police is most likely to be CS spray, although it could also be PAVA or capsicum.

This is an extremely serious matter. CS spray is classified as a prohibited weapon under the Firearms act 1968, and police officers are exempted from this legislation in order to do their jobs. As a such, the use of CS spray is discharge of a weapon and must be fully justified as a last resort to prevent imminent danger of physical harm. Not only that, the official ACPO guidance on incapacitant sprays specifically warns against the use of CS spray in crowd and protest situations. It is not clear in this instance why the spray was used but from watching the video, imminent physical danger seems unlikely. The question must be asked; is the use of CS spray against protesters simply the actions of one or two heavy handed police officers, or does this represent an official step towards more forceful policing?

It is also interesting to note that police are not normally allowed entry to the university without permission. Permission was explicitly and repeatedly denied them, and yet they entered anyway.

NOTE: Unfortunately since I wrote this the video of this event has been marked as private on Youtube. I can only speculate that this is for legal reasons. I will leave it embedded here in the hope that it will be made public again in the future.

More information

Varsity: Chaos on Kings Parade

The Cambridge Student: Police cause outrage as two students arrested inside King’s College

Cambridge Defend Education

Previous articles

More attacks on the right to protest: CS spray

More information about CS spray and UK Uncut

UK Uncut on Newsnight

Do we live in a police state?

 

 

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

5 thoughts on “Pepper spray used at peaceful protests again”

  1. Steve, “this video is private” is all I get. The first of the other videos YouTube lists below (from the same source?) have comments like “I was there and you’ve edited the video to misrepresent what happened”.

    1. don’t associate a video you havent seen with a video you don’t know is made by the same person. how about you wait until you see the real thing before trying to make out it might have been edited, huh? or do you go around thinking all the protest videos you see have been edited to distort events.

    2. The original video that I embedded was raw, unedited footage. I have not yet been able to contact anyone to tell me why it has been made private, however standing legal advice to protesters is to refrain from putting footage of police abuse online until after a solicitor is involved and I think this is what has happened.

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