Pepper spray is a self-defense weapon that can be used in the event of an attack. It causes temporary blindness and difficulty breathing, which gives you enough time to get away. However, pepper spray is not legal for members of the public to use in the UK or Europe - but with it being one of the most effective self-defence items, what alternatives do you have to use for self-defence?
In the UK, 1 in 4 women experience sexual harassment before they are 18, we believe it is your right to stay safe and make sure you have peace of mind when your running, going to school or uni, walking the dog or simply just walking home.
There are not many alternatives to pepper spray in the UK that are legal, this is because they will not always be used in self-defence - they may be used to harm others. The best alternative is a personal safety alarm, also known as a rape alarm or safety device.
Personal Safety Alarms
Personal safety alarms (or rape alarms) work as a deterrent, they are loud and attract others attention. They work best if you can let off the alarm before someone is trying to assault you or follow you from behind - giving them every chance to walk away from the situation before it escalates into something more dangerous.
Personal safety alarms can be easily attached onto your keys with a key ring and are light weight and durable.
The best safety alarms will have an ear-piercing siren and a bright flashing light.
The Ashley personal safety device emits an incredibly loud 130 decibel screech for up to 60 minutes if it's activated and has a built in LED flashlight. It also alerts others when you're in trouble because of its very loud alarm.
Who Uses Safety Alarms?
This safety device is great for joggers, runners, walkers and cyclists to carry with them when they are exercising outside especially after dark because it's very easy to attach onto your keys or fit into a pocket or bag where you can get at it easily if needed.
Dog walkers also use it due to the rise in thefts in the UK, as lockdown increased the number of dog owners and increased the value of puppies - making them more attractive to steal. At this point of writing, the current punishment for stealing a dog is the same as stealing a mobile phone - although a new law is coming in to put thieves behind bars!
Another popular group using safety alarms is travellers, when travelling to another country or region it's always a good idea to have a rape alarm / personal safety alarm on you, so that if any trouble does arise and you're in danger you can use the deterrent.
Another example is young girls going out at night for an evening with friends which may include drinking and clubbing, especially as alcohol related crimes are rising - safety alarms are great as they don't look too suspicious and can be worn as a necklace or carried in the pocket.
How to use a Personal Safety Alarm
Personal safety alarms (also known as rape alarms and attack alarms) are very easy to use, they are operated by pulling a pin out of the device which will activate an extremely loud alarm - this is great as it immediately attracts attention to you.
Simply put the pin back in if you want to stop the alarm, this is quite hard to do if you're being attacked - i.e. the attacker won't be able to do this and stop the alarm if there is a tussle.
Why is Pepper Spray Not 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.
It goes on to say that if you had pepper spray in your possession, even without using it or threatening anyone with it then this would be considered illegal.