Devon and Cornwall Police to use spit and bite guards

Photo: Devon and Cornwall Police
Photo: Devon and Cornwall Police

Spit and bite guards will be introduced locally in a hope of limiting the number of assaults on police and other emergency services workers.

Training for Devon and Cornwall police and staff has already commenced to ensure correct use of the spit and bite guards (SPGS)

Devon and Cornwall Police state that Between 2016 & 2017, 216 officers and staff were spat on in Devon & Cornwall alone, accounting for 18% of all assaults against all of it’s staff. Adding that it is not just saliva spat but also blood and other bodily fluids.

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.

“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.

South Western Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Ken Wenman, said: “Any assault on staff across the emergency services is unacceptable. We therefore support our police colleagues in the safe and appropriate use of these spit and bite guards.”

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