Today we read that the Metropolitan Police are about to trial the use of spit hoods within the area of custody suites across their Boroughs and once again the emotive issues of them being primitive, cruel and degrading come up for discussion. Balanced against the fact that officers have the right to be protected when carrying out their duties.You may recall that i posted an article about the use of spit hoods on LinkedIn regarding the emotive issues which surround there use. There was also news regarding a number of incidents during the recent Notting Hill carnival some involving officers being spat at. .A number of key questions arise; one very significant one being that post officers restraining a person who still is still remains resistant, in this instance spitting, what options are currently open to preserve the safety of all concerned within the incident.
Although the pilot is specifically planned for the controlled environments of custody suites, what about the following:
- What about incidents involving restraints when officers are performing their duties in and around the local communities. That is to say, post restraining (and handcuffing) a person remains resistant and starts spitting. Is there a planned intervention option open to officers or are they to deal with it from an unplanned (dynamic risk assessment) point of view?
- Who will be issued with the spit hoods? Will they only be located within the custody suite areas, under the supervision of a custody sergeant or will they be issues to supervisory officers who are commenting between custody suites and community areas?
- What consultation has taken place with the Independent Advisory Group regarding human rights, issues, concerns and perceptions from people within the local community areas?
Interestingly, I have just read on Sky News (8:40am) that the Metropolitan Police are putting the pilot on hold until further consultation has taken place.
What are your views regarding the use of spit hoods:
- Should spit hoods be an item of equipment open to officers; as a use of reasonable force option or should they not form part of the personal protective equipment (PPE) option for use by officer?
- If you did support their use, should they be limited to use within the custody suite areas or should they be available, with supervision across the wider community areas?