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Pepper spray – A safe and reasonable response to suspect verbal resistance

Michael R. Smith (Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA, and)
Geoffrey P. Alpert (University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 1 June 2000


Explores the debate over the safety and efficacy of police use of force tactics in general, and pepper spray in particular. Introduces the force continua, checklists employed by US police forces to prescribe levels of force to be used in particular situations. Reviews the literature, discusses two recent studies and the legal and ethical issues involved. Suggests further research in less‐than‐lethal weapons.



Smith, M.R. and Alpert, G.P. (2000), "Pepper spray – A safe and reasonable response to suspect verbal resistance", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 233-245.




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