Process of issuing pepper spray permits to begin next week

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Process of issuing pepper spray permits to begin next week

Come next week, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) begin issuing pepper spray permits for users.

This comes as the TTPS is also in the process of re-examining the requirement for the license, following complaints that they were unnecessarily stringent.

Applicants were being asked to provide at least a recent bank statement/utility bill and two forms of identification (ID). However, calls have been made for the process to be made easier for women, who will be the main applicants. The opposition leader suggested one form of ID and a TTPS-issued certificate of character.

In a GML report, the TTPS said: “As it relates to the requirements for utility bills and two forms of ID, we will examine the present forms and determine whether any amendments are required to streamline the process.”

However, the TTPS noted that a strict vetting mechanism was important as: “Pepper spray is a prohibited weapon under the Firearms (Amendment) Act, 2021 therefore, a balance must be struck between persons obtaining pepper spray to be used as a form of protection against persons using it as a weapon in the commission of an offence.

“In crafting the requirements for pepper spray, consideration was also given to safety, dangers to children, type of damage and where the product gets into criminals’ hands,” it said.

The TTPS also revealed that from next week it will start issuing pepper spray permits for users, noting that other classifications of the permit have already been issued.

“The issuance of pepper spray permits was done in a phased approach. The TTPS began by making the process for import and retailer permits available to the public and thereafter the process for individual permits,” the TTPS said. “To date, we have issued eight import permits, and four retailer permits, and we can confirm that these importers have already imported pepper spray canisters into the country.”

The TTPS added that it envisions that the process between application and issuance should take “four to six weeks”.

Upon completion of the online application form, a $50 fee must be paid to any police station before 5 pm. The applicant must also carry with them confirmation that the online process was done by way of a printable document upon completion.

The TTPS reminded the public that after obtaining the permit, “you can then go to a pharmacy where you can purchase it, much like you would get a prescription from a doctor and go to a pharmacy and fill your prescription.

The TTPS added, “Pharmacies have been selected to dispense pepper spray because they have the ability as they do with the dispensation of dangerous drugs, including narcotics, to give a proper account within the parameters of the regulations and recordkeeping as required under law.”