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All Lichfield and Burntwood police officers to be issued with spit guards

Police officers in Lichfield and Burntwood are to be issued with spit guards.

Staffordshire Police currently has them in vehicles and custody blocks, but Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said a wider rollout would now take place.

The guards would now become standard issue kit for all of the force’s officers.

Matthew Ellis

Matthew Ellis

“This subject has attracted some controversy nationally,” said Commissioner Ellis. “But we should not ask officers to carry out their work in protecting the public without protecting them.

“I’ve seen bodycam footage of an arrest in Staffordshire where the individual being detained spat at officers.

“Physical violence can make the police’s job very difficult but the wait, often for weeks, for an officer to find out if being spat at has caused infection, such as hepatitis must be horrendous for the officer and their family.”

Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said the use of spit guards was “a proportionate response” to the issues facing her colleagues on the frontline.

She added: “Police officers have told me that they fear more the consequences of being spat at than of being physically assaulted.

“Policing can be a dangerous job and spitting is a real risk, which can have serious outcomes in some circumstances.

“The Police and Crime Commissioner and I are in agreement that personal issue spit guards is a proportionate response to a real threat faced by officer.”

As part of the new arrangements, use of the spit guard will join, use of Taser, domestic abuse incidents and Stop and Search in being subject to ‘enhanced oversight’ by the PCC’s office. This involves mandatory use of bodycams during an incident and dip sampling of that footage by each area’s Safer Neighbourhood Panel on top of normal oversight arrangements.

The full rollout will start in the next few weeks and includes additional training for officers.

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1 Comment

  1. Rob

    16th February, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Diane Abbot seems to be an expert on this:
    hope she’s approved it.