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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Avon and Somerset Police federation urges officers not to carry PAVA or CS while off duty

24 September 2021

Avon and Somerset Police officers are being urged not to carry PAVA or CS spray while off duty.

Officers who carry the sprays when they’re not at work potentially face prosecution, Avon and Somerset Police Federation has warned.

The Federation sought legal advice after concerns were raised, and consulted the College of Policing’s code of practice, the National Personal Safety Manual for PSE, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Avon and Somerset Police Federation Chair Iain Prideaux said: “There is not distinct legislative authority permitting officers to possess irritant sprays off duty, and forces cannot guarantee there will never be criminal charges. Officers should not be required to run the risk of prosecution and we encourage members not to do so.”

The PFEW has put out guidance that all weapons such as PAVA or CS spray should be stored safely in the workplace at the end of a tour of duty. It said that when officers need to begin duty at a different place of work, the force should have suitable procedures in place to ensure officers do not possess any such item while off duty.

Iain said: “We will raise this concern with Avon and Somerset Police and ensure that our colleagues are provided with the necessary policy and procedure to avoid being the subject of a potential criminal allegation.”