This solution has been selected because this is the minimum concentration which will fulfil the purpose of the equipment; namely to minimise a person’s capacity for resistance without unnecessarily prolonging their discomfort. It should be noted that PAVA is significantly more potent than CS.
The liquid stream is a spray pattern and has a maximum effective range of up to 4 metres. Maximum accuracy, however, will be achieved over a distance of 1.25 - 2 metres. The operating distance is the distance between the canister and the subject’s eyes not the distance between the officer and the subject.
PAVA primarily affects the eyes causing closure and severe pain. The pain to the eyes is reported to be greater than that caused by CS. The effectiveness rate is very high once PAVA gets into the eyes. However, there have been occasions where PAVA has failed to work, especially when the subject is under the influence of alcohol. It should be remembered, however, that no incapacitant is universally effective and there may be individuals on whom an incapacitant may not be effective at all or only partially so.
For PAVA to work effectively it must enter the eyes. The effects of PAVA are usually instantaneous if this happens. Exposure to fresh moving air will normally result in a significant recovery from the effects of PAVA within 15 – 20 minutes.