How legal is the use of pepper spray in the UK?

In the year since Sarah Everard was murdered, there have been calls for more to be done to improve the safety of women in public spaces.

Following the murder of Sarah Everard, the Metropolitan Police said it would deploy 650 additional officers and increase the police presence in areas believed to be hotspots of violence and harassment.

However, some women may feel the need to carry a non-lethal weapon such as pepper spray for protection and self-defense. But it will most likely take you to court.

Not true, it is against the law and is classified as a firearm and under the Firearms Act of 1968.

Under section 5(1)(b) of the Act, possession, purchase or Obtaining any such item designed or adapted “to release any liquid, noxious gas or otherwise” is prohibited.

Penalties for gun possession range from free-living to 10 years in prison.

Last year, however, new sentencing guidelines for firearms went into effect.

As part of the guidelines, a two-step guilt assessment should be performed at sentencing. It looks at the weapon type pepper spray is classed as a type three weapon in that it is nonlethal, while a weapon capable of killing two or more people at once or in rapid succession.

They will then consider factors such as whether the weapon was used for a criminal purpose or not intended to be used or not used.

Who can use pepper spray and what is it for?

While having pepper spray is illegal in the UK, it can be and is used by law enforcement for crowd and riot control.

It is used by police via handheld cans that can reach up to four metres.

Pepper spray is not lethal, but causes an intense burning sensation that temporarily renders the victim impotent.

Similarly, police officers can also use tasks that are capable of releasing electrical currents and are also classified as prohibited firearms.

Although it is forbidden for civilians in the UK to carry tear gas, it is classified as a weapon of self-defense in other countries such as Austria, Latvia and Slovakia.

Have there been calls to legalize it?

Yes and more than 35,000 people signed a petition last year to the UK government and parliament calling for the legalization of carrying non-lethal self-defense weapons such as pepper spray.

The petition is now closed, but it stated: “Guns and Knives are justifiably illegal to carry in the UK but criminals still manage to get hold of them to use, innocent people must be able to protect themselves with a non-lethal substitute.”

Meanwhile, other petitions have been started with two currently active on the UK Government petitions page asking for pepper spray to be legalised.

What does the UK Government say?

The UK has some of the toughest laws on firearms in the worldA statement from the Home Office in response to a petition last year said the government had no intention of making such spraying legal.

He said, “The government is taking decisive action to make our streets safer. But sprays that contain hazardous substances are very dangerous and we do not intend to allow people to wear them for self-defense.

“When handled improperly, items such as pepper spray can be dangerous and cause serious injury. This is why their possession is prohibited by firearms laws.

“For many years, successive governments have believed that private possession of firearms, including spray cans, or other weapons of personal protection can lead to increased levels of violence. While an individual may wish to carry items for their own protection, we strongly advise against doing this as the item itself could be used against the person with dire consequences. important. Such items, if made widely available to all, could be used to incapacitate people from committing crimes.

Is it legal to use pepper spray for self-defense?

It is illegal to carry anything classified as an offensive weapon. Meanwhile, it’s also illegal to carry a knife in public without a good reason, unless it’s a folding blade 3 inches or less, such as a Swiss Army knife. .

Threatening a knife, including a legal knife, is illegal. Good reasons to have a knife include bringing it to a gallery or museum for display, or carrying the knives you use at work and to work.

British police said: “If you are caught with a knife or gun, you will be arrested and prosecuted, even if it is a fake. There’s no reason to say it’s for your own protection or that you’ve worn it for someone else.

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