Students warned not to use ‘Bouncer Spray’

Attack alarms are a regular feature at fresher stalls, but “Bouncer Spray” is the newest product aimed at protecting students from being attacked — but they’re being warned not to use it.

VestGuard UK Ltd originally developed the product for bouncers, hence the name, but hope that it could protect students, too.

Unlike the attack alarms that make a loud noise to draw scare the attacker and draw attention to the situation, the spray not only deters attackers, but helps police to track them.

“The ‘Bouncer Spray’ releases a repulsive odour, as well as emitting an invisible UV dye, designed to help identify an attacker to the police,” VestGuard UK says.

They add that the “distinctive repulsive odour” also helps in finding witnesses who may have seen the attacker. The dye stays on clothes for up three days, increasing the chances of the attacker being caught.


Carrying "Bouncer Spray" isn't as safe as it seems. Photo: Anneka James

Whilst this may seem like a unique way to not only prevent attacks but also trace the attacker, Lincolnshire Police does not support the use of the spray and is actively trying to discourage door staff and companies from using this and similar products.

They say that using the spray could do more harm than good in a serious situation.

Mark Garthwaite, neighbourhood police inspector for Lincoln centre, says: “It’s all very well for someone to carry this, but say for example a student is attack while carrying this, they go to use it and it is taken off them, it can be used against them to incapacitate them and could make a serious situation even worse.”

Not only that, but using the spray risks further upsetting an attacker. Garthwaite explains that because sprays, including CS spray, are psychological, it isn’t effective on everyone: “CS spray is only effective on 70% of the population because if someone’s got a positive mindset, or they have mental issues which means they can override pain, they don’t feel it.

“So if you’ve got a student… who sprays this stuff, it doesn’t work on the offender, but may actually get blown back in their face and affect them. Again, it can make a very bad situation even worse.”

There are several such sprays on the market, some of which also contain mace, a noxious substance that is banned in the UK. “Bouncer Spray” does not contain the substance, but those that do are breaking the law.

“The problem is that it’s an irritant spray and it’s the equivalent our CS spray… so we have concerns,” Garthwaite says.

He explains that anything that “emits a noxious fluid is a fire arm” and therefore should not be used under section five of the Firearms Act.

Garthwaite also says that spraying an attacker “technically constitutes an assault” and it could then go to court to decide whether using it in self defence was proportionate to the attack.

“We don’t, at all, endorse the use of this kind of thing,” he says. If students do wish to carry something to make them feel safer at night, he suggests carrying panic alarms, and he points out that CCTV helps to trace offenders.

“We [Lincoln] have a fantastic CCTV coverage, all our door staff are linked to the Door Watch scheme so they’ve all got radios linked to CCTV who directly link to us, so that is our method of tracking offenders rather than asking people to use this sort of spray,” he says.

9 Responses to Students warned not to use ‘Bouncer Spray’

  1. I’m not sure this’d be the best idea in Lincoln, the UK’s Windy City. I’d rather rely on a good ol’ knee to the balls than risk this horrible stuff being blown back into my face.

  2. I would rather get the upper hand against an attacker by whatever means possible!
    Bouncer spray contains no noxious substances and is not a firearm, but this type of statement is typical of the police of this land! they don’t want anyone to have the chance to protect themselves, and as far as CCTV goes! by the time the police get to the scene of a crime, the criminal is long gone. And bouncer spray has nothing in common with OC or CS sprays.

  3. Sarah Morrison says:

    I have used bouncer spray on a few encounters with a scumbag!
    it had the effect of distracting him for a minute, enough time for me to get out of his line of sight.
    I would reccomend people carry this after receiving some basic training in it’s use.

  4. Jack Troy says:

    More complete and utter nonsense from our pathetic, nannying police force. Seriously why do the police in this country have such a massive issue with law abiding people wanting to defend themselves? If they think being unarmed is so much safer then why dont they themselves stop carrying their CS spray, batons and tasers everywhere?

    Some people are not so willing to just bend over and allow themselves to be bullied and victimised by criminal scum. I am one of them. I am a good law abiding citizen, and i will carry within the law, whatever i damn well please to protect myself in public, and no nanny state enforcer is going to tell me otherwise. Yes these legal sprays may not be very effective in the worst of situations (seeing as the feckless powers that be wont trust us with anything reliable like real pepper spray or a firearm) it is still vastly better than having nothing at all to defend yourself.

  5. Katrin Redsall says:

    It’s utterly absurd that you’re not allowed to protect yourself in any way in the UK. As a woman who is on the small side why aren’t I allowed to carry something to even the odds if I get attacked? I’m from NYC where I carried pepper spray on my keyring and felt a lot safer walking at night that I had some level of defense. As to this silly little cop quoted above, what an absurd ‘argument’. Really, CCTV? Doesn’t help much during the crime does it. Might be used against the victim? That’s an old line that’s trotted out and has no evidence behind it, either with firearms or pepper spray, I’ve researched it. Absurd. I’m getting the spray. A noxious spray is kind of laughable as the only defense you’re allowed to carry but I guess that’s what I’m stuck with here.

  6. Ray says:

    I think the police and the legal system are only looking out for themselves in not allowing the public to defend themselves with effective self defence sprays. It makes the job of the police much easier and safer if most out there do not carry anything that might actually stop somebody. They are then mostly in the happy position of having such things themselves, and not coming up against those armed with them so often. Pure self interest on the part of the police and legal system, to make their job easier. Public safety is less important to them than their own self interest.

  7. I’ve been carrying Bouncer spray for around 2 years now without incident. But i can testify to one fact about it. It stinks really bad, Almost garlic like. I sprayed a small amount on myself and guess what? It stung my eyes like hell and left me smelling like a bit of garlic for hours afterwards. As far as UK legal defense sprays go this would be the better alternative instead of the stupid non effective “stoppa red” crap that’s overrated. I only delivered a tiny quantity and it was not pleasant, But think of how effective half a can would be in the face of an attacker. It would certainly give you a very good chance of creating that much needed distraction to get away.

  8. Alan says:

    Here in the UK we cannot carry pepper/gas sprays but in France and Belgium you can buy and carry loads of self defence kit and as we are all in the EEC why are we not all treated the same.

  9. Peter says:

    Because we are all a bunch of cowardly w****** that have allowed ourselves to be shafted time and time again by past governments.