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Life's a gas for 'News' journalist

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Hawick News journalist Colin Purvis was on the receiving end of some rough treatment from the police.

But it was ‘friendly fire’ down to his good contacts rather than criminal activity.

Read his story, first published in the Hawick News, of how he was tackled by an officer brandishing the controversial CS gas.

I’ll admit to a slight feeling of unease as I was asked to sign the disclaimer. I signed it. Now, it was too late to change my mind.

Many years ago, someone told me: “Write what you know.” How could I write an honest article on Borders police being issued with CS Spray, without having ‘first hand’ experience of its effects?

I had been furnished with all the details, facts and figures and was armed with a myriad of quotes from all concerned.

I had been told of its effects – it didn’t sound particularly pleasant – but I had to find out. Remember, “Write what you know.”

And believe me, I was about to find out in no uncertain terms what it feels like to be on the receiving end of CS Spray.

The introduction of CS Spray is viewed as a major step forward for the region’s police force, who have, during the past three years faced a 30% increase in violent assaults. The main benefit of the spray is that it extends the range of defensive options available to police officers on the streets.

PC Kevin Harris informed me that the CS Spray he would use on Staff Sergeant Kevin Murray and myself was a three per cent solution, not the ‘full strength’ five per cent version which officers will carry while on duty. This offered little consolation.

We were told to stand with our backs against the wall. It wasn’t hard to draw a parallel to an execution.

Hadn’t I read that someone had died down south after being sprayed with this stuff? I began to wish I was elsewhere.

Kevin Harris stood at arms length and discharged the spray towards the ground at waist height (in a real life situation officers will discharge the CS Spray directly into the face of an offender).

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