Update from Federation on continuing work to introduce spit guards

Gloucestershire Police Federation has said it will continue calling for spit guards to be introduced.

Gloucestershire Police announced that the force would “not rush into” a trial last week (1 June).

Since then, Sarah Johnson, Police Federation Chair, has spoken to the force and the PCC about the pressing issue.

She said this week:

“I am reassured that all parties are collectively trying to resolve any concerns about the trial and are intent on protecting officers as best they can.

“Everyone involved wants to ensure we have robust and proportionate measures about the use and training of spit and bite guards to ensure they can be used to protect officers without causing risk to vulnerable people who may find themselves in custody.”

Sarah has passed academic and scientific studies to the force to help senior officers make their decision.

She added:

“This research has convinced other police chiefs of the legitimate and proportionate need to introduce spit and bite guards into their police areas – both in custody and to patrolling officers.

“I hope this evidence will do the same in Gloucestershire and assist Chief Constable Hansen to make his decision, not only about the trial in the custody environment but also for further rollout across the force in due course.”

The majority of frontline officers at the force have said they would like the guards introduced to protect them from biting and contracting infectious diseases.

And Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she was in favour of them at the Police Federation of England and Wales’ conference last month.

But in a statement last month, Mr Surl said:

“I know from personal experience that any attack on officers carrying out their duties is completely unacceptable, and that extra protection is sometimes necessary. But the use of spit guards has caused controversy in other parts of the country with claims they breach suspects’ rights and could even be dangerous.

“The chief constable and I are in total agreement that the safety of our staff is paramount, but I am yet to be convinced that spit guards are the answer.”