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Vic protection officers can carry OC spray

Victoria’s protective services officers have been using pepper spray for years without the proper legal authority.

Victoria Police confirmed the error, saying it had been dealt with.

“An inadvertent gap in the authority of PSOs to carry OC spray, identified by Victoria Police, has now been closed after an exemption was provided by the Governor in Council which will allow PSOs to carry the spray cannisters,” police said in a statement.

This grants PSOs a legal exemption to carry oleoresin capsicum, or OC, spray.

Victoria Police said the error was connected to how the relevant law was drafted 20 years ago and does not affect the carrying of firearms or any other equipment.

“We are now in ongoing discussions with the Department of Justice and Community Safety to understand and address any further issues which might arise from these matters,” Victoria Police said.

Last year, it emerged PSOs might have broken the law when arresting people accused of skipping court.

At the time, the majority of the warrants only allowed police, not PSOs, to make those arrests.

On Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews said he had not been briefed formally on the oversight.

“I can’t explain that, that’s an inadvertent matter … I understand it’s been fixed,” he said.

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