Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—prison officers get go ahead for a new incapacitating gas

Issue No. 2634

Prison officers can use a new type of painful gas against prisoners

Prison officers can use a new type of painful gas against prisoners (Pic: Bill Nicholls/creative commons)


Prison officers have been given the go ahead to use a new type of gas on prisoners.

The Pava incapacitant spray, which is notably stronger than CS gas, causes acute pain if sprayed directly into the eyes.

One officer described its effects as “unbearable, like your skin peeling off” after being affected when it was deployed.

Last December a six-month pilot project was launched in four prisons—Hull, Preston, Risley and Wealstun.

It was claimed Pava would be used as a “personal protection aid for officers to use to defend themselves or others against serious attack”.

The prison officers got a bit more use out of the gas than that. A report on the trial said the spray was used 50 times in the pilot jails, including 18 times to stop prisoner-on-staff assaults and 14 times to stop prisoner-on-prisoner assaults.

The remaining 18 incidents comprised eight cases of “passive noncompliance”, and “seven of aggressive noncompliance”. There were two of “active self-harm” and one unspecified “incident at height”—all of which were non-violent and outside the stated guidelines.

The report found that levels of violence continued to rise in the four jails where Pava was tested.

Despite those findings, the spray will now be issued to all officers in state-run jails.


Twenty-four workers at an Amazon ­warehouse in New Jersey in the US were taken to hospital after a robot accidentally punctured a can of bear repellant.

The 255g can containing concentrated capsaicin, a compound in chilli peppers, was punctured by an ­automated machine after it fell off a shelf last Wednesday.


Workers in Scotland too poor to buy food

More than a fifth of people in Scotland have gone a day without eating because they are too poor to buy food, a survey has revealed.

The Citizens Advice Scotland survey of more than 2,600 people found 21 percent had not eaten for a day due to lack of money.

Just under half of respondents were employed and of these, one in three reported having to reduce or skip meals because they lacked money.

A total of 40 percent of working respondents worried about running out of food before having money to buy more and 35 percent said they are struggling to afford to eat balanced meals.

This rose to 45 percent of all those who completed the survey, employed and unemployed.

And 23 percent of people had had skipped meals so that their children could eat.


They really do just live for pleasure at the Bow Group, which has announced details of its Christmas knees-up. The Tory think tank’s star turn will be a speech by Tory MP John Redwood (second prize—two speeches).

The reception and dinner (no Brussels, obviously) costs £65.

For an extra £20, you’ll sit next to a “senior” Tory.


Abusive cop goes to jail over harrassment

A serving police officer has been jailed for engaging in an abusive relationship with a vulnerable woman he met on duty.

PC Scott Johnson, from St Mary’s Bay sent “inappropriate” texts and images to the woman from his mobile phone for a “protracted period of time”.

The 45 year old, attached to the Met Police’s Hammersmith and Fulham borough, was charged with the offence on 30 August, following his arrest on 20 October last year.

He was sentenced to two years in jail at Southwark Crown Court last week and has now been suspended from duty.

Socialist Worker first revealed the case in February.

For more go here bit.ly/2RUXCdu

The £10 Christmas bonus for pensioners and some benefit claimants should be worth £128.15 today.

Since it was introduced in 1972—when the state pension was £6.75 a week —Scrooge governments have refused to uprate it.

A tenner then bought 62 pints of lager.


Are Epipens too short?

Adrenaline injection devices that were branded “inherently unsafe” by a coroner, have been cited in nine deaths in Britain since 2013 over potential product failures.

The coroner at the inquest of Natasha

Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after eating a Pret A Manger baguette, suggested the needle of the Epipen was too short.

Overall the Epipens, which are used to treat severe allergic reactions, have been cited in

63 adverse reaction alerts to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency involving death or serious illness since 2013.


Review for Shrewsbury

The Shrewsbury pickets have won an important victory in their long struggle to overturn their convictions.

Justice Jay, sitting in the Administrative Court in Birmingham, gave permission for the pickets’ application for judicial review to proceed to a full hearing.It is likely to be heard in late Spring 2019. In 1972 following a building strike, 24 workers were tried in Shrewsbury accused of violent crimes.

For details go to bit.ly/2SG4OKJ

Going Down

Stephen Lawrence murderer Jamie Acourt had been jailed for nine years over a drugs plot.

Acourt fled to Spain and was on the run for more than two years before being extradited for his role in the £3 million scam.

The gang based in Eltham, south London, in two years made 34 return trips of 600 miles to ferry cash or drugs. Acourt admitted conspiracy.

Jurors heard Acourt was never convicted over the racist killing of Stephen in 1993.


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