Officer ‘assaulted’ after CS spraying his own face


A POLICE officer was rushed to hospital today after accidentally dousing himself with his own CS spray .

It is understood the officer used the spray during a confrontation with a member of the public in Glenrothes, Fife.

But the jet was caught by the wind and blown back in to the officer’s face.

CS sprays were introduced to help officers defend themselves without routinely carrying firearms


As the defenceless officer struggled to breathe, it is alleged he was assaulted.

CS spray, in the form of a small canister worn on the hip, is issued to most officers on patrol in Scotland for self-defence.

It causes streaming and a burning sensation in the eyes as well as blurred vision.

The spray can also blister the skin and its effects can last for up to an hour.

The incident happened at the town’s bus station this morning.

The officer is alleged to have suffered a fractured cheek bone and cuts to his face as a result of the alleged assault. The officer was taken to the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, for treatment.

An emergency services insider said: “I believe the officer may have been using his CS spray and the wind blew it back in his face.

“It looks like that’s when the other individual attacked the officer.”

A Fife Police spokesman said: “A police officer has been assaulted earlier this morning.

“He was taken to hospital although his injuries are not life threatening.

“A man has been arrested in connection with the incident.”

Asked about the CS spray accident, the spokesman said: “We can’t make any comment while we are trying to gather all information.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We were called at 11.56am by Fife Police to assist an officer who received injuries while on duty.

“He was taken to Victoria Hospital for a suspected fractured cheekbone and lacerations to his face.”


Reported incidents

It was reported last year that since 2001 a total of 170 Scottish officers have accidentally sprayed themselves or others with CS.

This has resulted in at least one compensation payment of £10,000 and 22 days off work due to illness.

Most of the reported accidents occurred in Scotland’s smallest force, Dumfries and Galloway, with 100 recorded in fewer than five years.

Strathclyde, Scotland’s largest force, recorded 39 CS spray incidents in six years with 17 days lost to illness.

Lothian and Borders had seven such injuries in 10 years and paid out one compensation payment of £10,000.

Fife Constabulary has had 11 injuries in nine years, Northern Constabulary six in six years and five days lost to illness and Central Scotland Police six injuries in five years.

Grampian Police has had one injury in a decade and Tayside Police is the only force that has not had any recorded CS gas injuries to its officers.

In May this year, a training sergeant for Lothian and Borders Police accidentally doused 21 trainees with CS spray.

The weapon was introduced as a way of boosting officers’ ability to defend themselves without having to resort to firearms.

In August this year members of the public were told to keep an eye out for a missing canister of CS spray after a Tayside officer lost it while on duty.


  1. Thanks for your comment Dan.

    If you read the story carefully, you’ll see that it shows we did try to check before publishing.

    The information was provided by a reliable emergency service source who was in an excellent position to know.

    We asked Fife Constabulary to comment on the report that the officer had accidentally sprayed himself.

    As you can see from our report above, the force refused to make any comment about this.

    In such circumstances, many organisations will take the opportunity to give journalists an off the record “steer” away from a story they believe not to be true. This was not done.

    Fife police, about two hours later, then put out a press release about the incident in which they confirmed that CS spray had been used. Even then, they did not take the opportunity to deny or even steer away from the suggestion the officer had sprayed himself.

    We are aware that Fife police have complained to the newspapers that ran the story but as I write this on Monday, November 19 – four days after the story was published – Deadline has not received any direct, formal complaint from the force.

    If this story is inaccurate, our position is that the police force missed at least two clear opportunities to deny it or – at the very least – warn that there was some doubt.

    It’s in the nature of the news business that journalists cannot always wait for hours, days or even weeks for absolute truth to emerge, assuming any such thing exists. If we did, you’d get your newspaper once a year.

    It’s a two-way street. We do our very best to check stories and for every one that goes out at least one is spiked because it doesn’t “stand up”. In that process, we heavily rely on organisations such as the police to provide timely and reliable guidance.

    Peter Laing
    Managing Editor
    Deadline News

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