Spit guard trial planned for Havering
PUBLISHED: 15:31 17 November 2016
The Metropolitan Police Service (Met) is carrying out a consultation on piloting spit guards in the borough.
The force is collating views from partner organisations, community representatives, independent groups, and magistrates, until December 5.
If backed, they hope to trial the device for three months “within the controlled environment of custody suites” in Havering.
Four other local authorities are also ear–marked to take part including Redbridge, Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Waltham Forest.
A spokesman for the Met said they have a “duty of care” to their officers and the “issue of spitting and biting is a real problem”.
“It is a particularly unpleasant form of assault which rightly generates a lot of concern amongst officers,” he said.
“Some of the follow-up treatment required after such an assault can be prolonged and unpleasant.
“Over a number of years the Met has been looking at potential ways of minimising the threat this issue poses to officers and staff – one of the options that have been considered is spit guards.”
The mouth piece is a nationally approved piece of police personal safety equipment which is already used by 22 forces across the UK.
After the three-month trial, the Met, along with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), will assess the success of the initiative and decide whether to expand the use of spit guards to other custody suites.