Spitting is a disgusting habit. When projected at a police officer by a violent or hysterical offender in a confined space, it carries the added danger of spreading infection which can have extremely serious implications.
There have been 25 such incidents in the last 12 months and 5 since the Constabulary started trialling spit guards in its custody facility in October.
The Chief Constable has a duty of care under the Health & Safety at work Act to militate against a foreseeable risk and provide safe systems of work. It is the Police and Crime Commissioner’s role to hold the Chief Constable to account and ensure officers are trained in recognising signs of vulnerability and to certify the correct procedures and protocols are in place to protect both staff and detainees.
Whilst some groups are opposed to the use of spit guards, they are seen as a passive measure compared to physically restraining someone’s neck.
In keeping with the Police and Crime Plan’s priority for openness and transparency, a demonstration of how the spit guard is used was filmed for you to see.
The film contains foul language from the start for which we apologise. However, we feel it is important for you to see the circumstances in which the equipment would be used and the environment in which police officers sometimes have to work.