Spit and bite guards issued to all Lincs frontline police

Lincolnshire Police officers demonstrate how a spit and bite guard would be used.  Photo: Martin Birks
Lincolnshire Police officers demonstrate how a spit and bite guard would be used. Photo: Martin Birks
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Spit and bite guards are being issued to all frontline police officers to help protect them.

The guards, which are a hood made of a thin, breathable mesh material, are placed over the head of a person who is believed to be about to spit or bite, or who has already done so.

Lincolnshire Police say though the risk of officers being infected by a blood-borne infection is low, the physcological effect of waiting for proof they were uninfected is major. This can take weeks.

One Lincolnshire police officer who was subjected to such an assault in which he had blood spat at him said: “I’d rather be punched than spat on.”

Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West said: “We’ve made spit and bite guards available to officers on our frontline as a protective piece of kit to help protect against the worst effects of spitting and biting.

“None of our officers should have to endure assaults of any kind and being bitten or having blood spat at you is particularly unpleasant. It should never be considered as an acceptable part of the job but, sadly, it does happen”

Between the start of April last year and the end of November, there were 107 occasions where officers reported being spat at during an incident. On average, that works out around 13 incidents a month.

ACC West continued: “Those numbers are simply unacceptable. Spit and bite guards are medically approved and all officers who may need to use one will be fully trained as to how to use them safely and proportionately.”