Suspects will be hooded safely
New face guards to protect police in Devon and other emergency services workers against spitting and biting are being introduced from today. The equipment's already being used elsewhere in the country. Nearly one in five assaults against police officers in Devon and Cornwall are by people who spit.
Superintendent Ian Drummond-Smith, said: “The SBG is being introduced for the safety and support of our officers, staff and those we work alongside. Biting and spitting is an atrocious act and the new SBGs will provide additional protection to help keep everyone safe. Too often, officers, security guards or NHS staff are spat upon, not just with saliva but also with blood and other body fluids.”
Such assaults can have distressing implications for officers and staff and it is important that they have the right equipment to keep them safe. Training for officers and staff has commenced to ensure proper application of SBGs is carried out.
Superintendent Ian Drummond-Smith, continued: “Devon and Cornwall Police needs to ensure the safeguarding of those in our care, with particular consideration given to those who are vulnerable or have mental health needs. The Force has taken time to consider a number of options to protect officers and staff; taking into account relevant research and the suitability of various alternatives. In addition to this, we have also ensured that the preferred option has been robustly medically tested to ensure the safety of those in our care.
The Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill was recently amended to double the maximum penalty available for assaults on emergency workers, including spitting. Emergency services across the South West came together last year to launch the #unacceptable campaign; in partnership with Exeter City Football Club and Exeter Chiefs Rugby club. This campaigned was aimed at raising awareness of and reducing the number of incidents of assaults on emergency workers.