According to a press release published by the Metropolitan Police Federation, an overwhelming majority of police officers in London believe they should carry a Spit Guard.
The poll, by the Metropolitan Police Federation, reveals that almost 95% of officers surveyed feel all Metropolitan Police officers should be issued with a Spit Guard whilst on duty – after they have undergone appropriate training.
More than 5,500 Met Police officers responded to the survey on spitting and biting in the capital, which ran for more than two weeks in September.
As well as indicating that more officers should carry a Spit Guard, the results showed that 2,331 Metropolitan Police officers had been spat at on duty in the past two years – that’s over 3 police officers each day, every day.
And 562 respondents said they had been bitten on duty in the past two years.
However, only just over half (57.75%) of officers who said they had been spat at or bitten on duty said they reported the incident to the force – meaning more than 42% of attacks went unreported.
Results also show that 92.32% of respondents (5,133 officers) would be personally prepared to carry a Spit Guard following appropriate training.
Ken Marsh, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the results showed that officers believe Spit Guards are a crucial piece of personal protective equipment.
“Being spat at is abhorrent. My colleagues do not in any way deserve to go to work and be assaulted in this manner.
“Colleagues have told us they have been spat at in the face far too often. That’s horrific. It can go into your eyes, into your mouth, you could get infections and have to undergo a course of medical treatment.
“Officers protecting the people of London should not be subject to this sort of disgusting assault when they are carrying out their duty.”
“It is also interesting to note that more than 40% of officers surveyed said they did not report incidents of being spat at or bitten to the force. The danger and frequency of this disgusting act against my colleagues is clearly happening more often than the force suspected.
“Anecdotally we knew that officers were being spat at far too often on duty, but now we have the evidence the Commissioner has asked for to back up these stories. We have enjoyed a progressive conversation with the Commissioner on the results – and hope to have more news on this soon.”
“Our message is simple. If you don’t want to be placed in a Spit Guard, don’t spit at a police officer.”
Respondents to the survey were also given the opportunity to tell their stories about being spat at or bitten on duty.
Metropolitan Police Officers said:
“I was spat at in custody suite. I had two weeks of drugs with side effects, which meant as a precaution I couldn’t hold my newborn daughter. It broke my heart.”
“I was spat at in the face and it contained blood when I was on response team. I underwent 6 months of HIV prevention and it was horrific.”
“I was bitten on the ear by a female who said that she was HIV positive. I had to have anti-HIV medication for a number of months and regular blood tests.”
“My colleague and I had to take PEP and were violently ill for a number of weeks.”
“We have a baton, CS spray and Taser to protect us from knives and fists. It is only right that officers can protect themselves from saliva and blood’.
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