A POLICE watchdog has ruled cops were justified in using a PAVA spray during the arrest of a woman who was acting violently.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) issued the ruling after the incident was referred to them as part of procedure this year.

Police Scotland said their officers arrived at a flat in Paisley on Wednesday, May 6 which involved several people breaching social distancing guidelines.

They were threatened with violence by the 36-year-old householder.

The force explained that during the woman’s arrest she struggled violently, injured one of the officers and made attempts to grab his PAVA spray - at which point the officer discharged the liquid.

With the assistance of other officers she was brought under control.

A 26-year-old man, who had earlier emerged from the flat and acted aggressively towards the officers, was also arrested after he made threats towards the officers.

The 36-year-old woman and 26-year-old man are both subject to a report to the Procurator Fiscal.

PAVA spray is an incapacitant spray similar to pepper spray. It is dispensed from a handheld canister in a liquid stream. It affects the eyes, causing closure and severe pain.

A spokesman for PIRC said: “On May 7, 2020, Police Scotland referred the incident to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).

“Our investigation found that the discharge of the PAVA spray was justified, proportionate and necessary to prevent further injury to the officers and assist in bringing the incident to a safe conclusion.”