This December, Dorset Police will introduce spit and bite guards (SBG) to limit the number of assaults on officers and staff.
Chief Superintendent Colin Searle said: “The introduction of this kit is vital to support officer and staff safety. Biting and spitting is a vile act and the new SBGs will provide additional protection to help keep everyone safe.”
Assaults like these can have distressing implications for officers and staff and it is important that they have the right equipment to keep them safe.
Chief Superintendent Searle said: “Dorset Police need to ensure the safeguarding of those in our care who need to be fitted with an SBG, with particular consideration those who are vulnerable or with mental health needs. This included making sure any option had been robustly medically tested to ensure the safety of those in our care who may be in ill health.”
Dorset Police will now be one of 24 forces who have deployed SBGs in operational and detention settings to protect officers and staff. Furthermore, the Government is supporting the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill, which will double the maximum penalty available for assaults on emergency workers, including spitting. This sends a clear message that attacks on emergency workers will not be tolerated. This is supported across the Alliance with the recent launch of the #unacceptable campaign, working with partners to spread this important message in local communities.
The Police & Crime Commissioner for Dorset, Martyn Underhill, said in his blog about the introduction of SBGs: ‘’The principle that police officers and staff should not be spat at or bitten is beyond dispute; and I respect and accept the decision of the Chief Constable of Dorset, James Vaughan to introduce spitguards across the force’’.
‘’I have, in the past voiced genuine concerns over the use of spitguards. I am however, reassured by the Chief Constable that there will be full and comprehensive training for all officers under the College of Policing National Personal Safety manual with regard to the use of the guards and that the guidance in that manual will be strictly adhered to.”