Spit guard pilot extended as force seeks ‘better understanding’

Humberside Police has extended a spit guard pilot to gather more evidence before deciding whether to press ahead with a further roll out.

Sep 14, 2017

Humberside Police has extended a spit guard pilot to gather more evidence before deciding whether to press ahead with a further roll out. The force has been trialling the protective devices for the last three months but will now introduce them in all its custody suites and one team in each of its four geographical areas. If successful, the new three-month phase of the study could lead to the spit guards being issued to even more officers. Twenty-four forces are currently using spit and bite guards and two more are due to introduce them in the near future. The Police Federation of England and Wales is campaigning for them to be deployed across the service. Humberside Police officers have used the devices twice since May, and a scrutiny panel has already ruled the first deployment was “fair and appropriate”. The second use is still being recorded and reviewed before later assessment. Chief Inspector Paul Butler said the force is confident the extended research phase “will give us more evidence and a better understanding of how the spit guards would work across the force to protect those involved in handling extremely difficult detainees”. He added: “At the end of this pilot the data will be reviewed and we will carry out further consultation with the scrutiny panel. A decision will be made with regards to a further roll out of the guards.”

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