Time for review of pepper spray use

Green Party MP Keith Locke is calling for a review of pepper spray use after the death of a Mangere man yesterday.

“The sad death of Henry Bailey should prompt a review of pepper spray use by police to see if it is being used excessively or inappropriately,” Mr Locke, the party’s Police Spokesperson says.

“It would be useful for the Independent Police Conduct Authority to investigate whether police are resorting to the spray too much, given it is now used around 2000 times a year.

“The Authority could also check whether police guidelines for dealing with mentally disturbed people need reworking, given that pepper spraying people in an excited state presents more problems, because their breathing might already be impaired.

“Mental health professionals, who deal with people in excited states every day, could be used in such a review to fine tune police procedures.

“Now is the right time to re-visit the guidelines for pepper spray use, as police are considering introducing an even more dangerous weapon, the 500,000 volt taser stun gun,” Mr Locke says.