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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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The immediate effects of CS spray are discomfort to the eyes, a burning sensation, coughing and a tightness in the chest. It may also cause your skin to go red and feel hot and remain so for up to 1 hour. Most other symptoms will disappear after 35 minutes.

To aid recovery the best thing to do is to bathe the face and eyes in cool, clean running water. If the symptoms persist you should consult your doctor.

Please note that it may cause damage to certain types of contact lens. If you do experience this, you should consult an optician.

A few forces use a similar gas called PAVA which is effective when it is sprayed into the eyes and has a slightly stronger burning effect for about the same period. It does not have the other side effects to any degree.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.