CS spray use on youth '˜justified'

The Police Ombudsman has concluded that police were justified in using CS spray against a juvenile during an incident in Ballymena last year.

All uses of the spray against those aged 18 or under are referred by the Chief Constable to the Police Ombudsman for independent investigation.

The incident happened in Ballymena in May last year when a 17-year-old youth tried to enter a house where police were recovering property following a reported burglary.

The officer who used the spray said the youth came towards him with his fists clenched and ignored several warnings before being sprayed.

The youth later lodged a complaint that he had sustained an eye injury when police forced his face against the ground during his arrest.

However, police accounts that the youth had a noticeable face injury before his arrest were backed up by a civilian witness.

The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, noted that the officers who used the spray were all properly trained in its use, and concluded that their actions had been lawful, necessary and proportionate.