The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has admitted it has the ability to use capsicum spray on detainees in Australia's onshore immigration detention centres. In an apparent change of policy, hundreds of reported "use of force" incidents in Australia's onshore immigration detention network could have included the use of capsicum spray on detainees, but it is unclear whether or not capsicum spray has actually been used on detainees.

In February, Fairfax (no link due to strike) revealed that so-called "use of force" incidents where security officers had to intervene or restrain detainees in Australia's immigration network based in Australia (excluding Nauru and Manus Island) had more than doubled between February and April last year, compared to a similar period between August and October in 2015, up to 230 incidents per week from 100 incidents per week. This came despite a decline in the total number of detainees held on onshore detention centres. These stats came from several documents released under FOI law.