WMP becomes 23rd force to issue spit guards
Four and a half thousand West Midlands Police (WMP) officers will receive spit guards to help protect them from assaults.
Four and a half thousand West Midlands Police (WMP) officers will receive spit guards to help protect them from assaults. Around £11,000 will be spent on issuing the restraint devices to all operational officers, the force announced on Monday (July 31). A total of 231 WMP officers were spat at or bitten in 2016 and 104 incidents have already been recorded so far this year. The announcement makes WMP the 23rd force to have introduced spit guards across the UK. Chief Constable Dave Thompson said the decision was not taken lightly. I acknowledge that some people will feel worried about their introduction, he said. I want to reassure them that safeguards are in place and if they are used, this will be recorded. That data will be made available and will be scrutinised by local people. The police and crime commissioner will also hold me to account for the actions of my officers. This is right and proper. The rollout of spit guards in WMP will start in October and is expected to take three months to complete. The force said they will only be issued once officers have been properly trained and they will not be deployed unless absolutely necessary. Alongside spit guards, WMP officers will receive surgical masks with built-in eye shields for use when there is advance information someone is spitting. Police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said: The introduction of spit guards has been a difficult, but necessary decision to protect our officers. I back the chief constable on this issue. The police protect the public, it is therefore important we protect our officers.