Stephen Coleman: The moral dangers of non-lethal weapons
What I find interesting from his report is how pepper spray in Australia only in lieu of shooting someone: an option between shouting and shooting. The way some American police callously dumped it on people was disturbing to say the least.
What is even more interesting is the cops I know will not use pepper spray. If you didn't know the version of pepper spray the police and military get is much stronger than anything you get as a civilian. That stuff sticks on you for hours and is definitely an "area-effect" weapon. In NY, the arresting officer will be spending at least the car ride in an enclosed area coughing as well. They may have to spend hours with them.
As far as I know only Sergeants or higher are issued Tasers in the NYPD and go through extensive training.