Is pepper spray legal in the UK?

Is pepper spray legal in the UK?

What is Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is called desmethyldiydrocapcaicin and irritates the eyes to cause a burning sensation, pain, and temporary blindness.

Pepper spray is predominantly used by police in very aggressive situations - it was actually originally made to warn off bears and mountain lions so it's extremely powerful stuff!

Many people see pepper spray and feel it would be an ideal deterrent or personal safety device. The device is light and dispensed from a handheld canister, then sprayed at a distance into the face area of the attacker.

Is Pepper Spray Legal in the UK?

Pepper spray is classed as a Section 5 weapon by the UK government and is commonly used by the UK police who use it against aggressive individuals.


Its ownership, carry and use by common citizens is banned under Section 5(1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968. Therefore it is prohibited to be used as a ‘weapon of whatever description designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other thing’.

This law effectively means that carrying or using pepper spray in the UK carries the same penalty as carrying or using a gun. While there are some EU countries where it is legal - e.g. in Italy, Spain and France - it is only so with a license and the use of it against a person is considered assault.

Are there any pepper spray alternatives?

Not in terms of a chemical spray you can use, but in terms of personal safety then yes. The most effective personal safety device is an alarm (also known as a "rape alarm", although we dislike this phrase) - a good alarm can go up to 130dB and has a flashing light too to create as much noise and awareness as possible.

Using a personal safety alarm is simple and it is reusable - check out how to use a personal safety alarm here

Due to them being legal, you are able to use them on dog walks, running, while travelling and when you're walking at night.

You can purchase a personal safety alarm here 

Here's how they work: