South Scotland

Police watchdog look into death after PAVA spray used

A police watchdog investigation has started into the death of a 50-year-old man who was arrested in Dumfries and Galloway on Monday.

Police used an "incapacitant" spray known as Captor PAVA to arrest Alan Hay during a disturbance in Dalbeattie.

He appeared at Dumfries Sheriff Court on Tuesday but died in hospital before he was transferred to prison.

The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) will investigate what happened after his arrest.

A spokesman for the PIRC said: "The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has instructed the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner to undertake an investigation into police contact with Alan Hay.

"The investigation will focus on the discharge of PAVA, and the period while the man was in police custody before being transferred on 2 August 2016 into the custody of the Scottish Prison Service following his appearance at court.

"The man fell ill later that day and was taken to hospital for treatment but died shortly after. A report on the commissioner's findings will be submitted to the COPFS in due course."

PAVA spray is more potent than CS gas but it is claimed to be safer for users and bystanders.

It primarily affects the eyes, causing closure and severe pain.

It is deemed to be a firearm, which means there is an automatic referral to PIRC each time it is deployed.

The commissioner is currently investigating a separate incident in Edinburgh in April 2016, in which PAVA spray was used on a 22-year-old man.

Police Scotland have been using PAVA since 2014 when it was made available for the Commonwealth Games.

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