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The use of spit guards divides public opinion

Posted: Friday 11th August 2017
Blog: 2017
Can you imagine going into work every day and at some point during that day being spat on?  Can you then imagine the feeling of having to wait several weeks to find out whether or not you’ve contracted an infection such as hepatitis?  Fortunately, for many of us this isn’t something we are subjected to when at work.  For many police officers, who are just doing their job and working to keep us safe, being spat on is a regular occurrence.  When talking about how to handle those individuals who freely spit on officers and those around them, when they are being detained, the subject generates many opposing views.

One answer which has been implemented by over half of all police forces across the country is the use of spit guards.  A spit guard is a breathable, mesh-fabric hood used as a restraint device intended to prevent someone from spitting or biting.  Spit guards can only be used once and are usually used in police custody, when moving people from one location to another.  With spitting and biting becoming more frequent, it’s an operational decision for the Chief Constable as to whether or not spit guards should be part of the standard issue police kit and of course I will feed local people’s views into these conversations.

The use of spit guards is one that understandably divides opinion.  Spit guards are not a tool that the police use lightly and like their powers they are to use them proportionately and fairly.  However, I equally understand that some might feel that spit guards are distressing, humiliating and challenge an individuals’ human rights.  That’s why I want to hear from you.  What are your thoughts about the police having spit guards as part of their kit? Do you think the police should have to accept being spat at as part of their job? It’s important that the Chief Constable, when making his decision, has taken into consideration all views expressed so please share them with me by emailing pcc@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk

As more and more people are taking to the roads to spend their summer holidays on the sunny Cornish beaches or enjoy the picturesque Lake Districts, so too increases the likelihood of accidents on our roads.  This past week alone has seen three major incidents on the M5, resulting in lane closures and on one occasion over 22 miles of tailbacks.  Traffic jams are something we’ve all experienced and are particularly accustomed to over the summer holidays.  However, how many of you keep water in your car to ensure you stay hydrated when stuck in traffic for a prolonged period?  It’s not something I’ve ever really thought about until the idea was shared with me. 

We continually give out messages about not leaving dogs in cars, but if you’re not able to keep hydrated when in your car for a length of time, the same principle applies to you and your families.  With a recommended intake of 2 litres of water via food and drink per day, dehydration can happen quickly and when it sets in can become a serious problem.  It will therefore come as no surprise to know that a ‘side-effect of traffic jams’ is that people waiting in the queues who don’t have access to water, can become quite unwell through dehydration. On having this brought to my attention I wanted to take the opportunity to ask you to think about carrying drinking water when you travel.

Finally, I just wanted to say a big well done and thank you to all those involved in organising this year’s Islamic Cultural Fayre.  Thankfully the rain stayed away meaning the live performances, family games and various food stalls were uninterrupted.  My team and I thoroughly enjoyed the day and being part of the celebration of Bristol’s vibrant and diverse communities.   See you all again next year!

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