Man dies after being pepper sprayed by police

An investigation has been launched after a man died the day after he was pepper sprayed by police responding to a disturbance.

Picture: John Devlin

Alan Hay, 50, fell ill after being arrested following a disturbance in Dalbeattie, Dumfries and Galloway, on August 1 during which an incapacitant spray known as Captor Pava was discharged by an officer.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) has been instructed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to probe the circumstances surrounding his death.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Mr Hay became unwell on August 2 after making an appearance in court. He was taken to hospital but later died.

A Pirc spokesman said: “The investigation will focus on the discharge of Pava and the period while the man was in police custody before being transferred on August 2 into the custody of the Scottish Prison Service following his appearance at court.

“The man fell ill later that day and was taken to hospital for treatment but died shortly after. A report on the commissioner’s findings will be submitted to the COPFS in due course.”

The Pirc is already investigating an incident from earlier this year during which a 22-year-old man was sprayed with Pava.

And the lawyer representing the family of Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody in May last year, has said officers sprayed the 31-year-old with PAVA and CS spray before his death.

Commenting on the most recent case, a Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with the family.

“The circumstances relating to this death have been referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner. It would be inappropriate for Police Scotland to comment further whilst Pirc consider these.”