Police and crime commissioner believes spit guards will rarely be used in South Yorkshire

Spit hoods are to be introduced by South Yorkshire Police
Spit hoods are to be introduced by South Yorkshire Police
0
Have your say

The region's police and crime commissioner believes the controversial spit guards set to be introduced by police in South Yorkshire will not be used often.

Dr Alan Billings has 'cautiously' welcomed the decision by South Yorkshire Police to start using the guards from January, but stressed there use needs to be carefully monitored.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Officers will be trained to use the guards in custody suites and police transit vehicles if a suspect is trying to spit or bite.

The force said it was introducing the guards as additional protection because officers and staff are spat at around nine times every week.

Dr Billings said: "I support there introduction although cautiously because I think we have to do this introduction carefully and it has to be monitored at all times.

"As far as I can tell it's not something that will be used very often and I have spoken to one officer in a custody suite who said he hoped that he would never have to use one."

The force said officers and staff were spat at around nine times every week.

"Certainly we want officers to be protected," said Dr Billings. "The people who spit by definition are clearly abusive people and this is about how our officers tend to them."

Dr Billings said the use of the guards will be reviewed and the independent ethics panel, which reports to the PCC and chief constable, will monitor any ethical issues.

The force's deputy chief constable Mark Roberts said spit guards are transparent so people are not disorientated when they have them on and officers can monitor any health issues or changes in behaviour.