The Latest Furore – Spit Hoods

I don’t suppose he meant to but Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, sparked off a right shit storm on Twatter last night after reversing the Met’s decision to trial Spit Hoods.

Whilst not entirely ruling them out he said 

Any attack on officers carrying out their duties is completely unacceptable, and the use of protective equipment is sometimes necessary. 

The decision on whether to use intrusive tactics is a highly emotive one and should be informed by public engagement. 

There is nothing wrong with public engagement per se but surely the safety of our Police Officers (and public) is paramount.  Did we ask the public what their opinion was before using handcuffs to restrain violent prisoners? Should we have done?  Should we now revisit that?

Surely the decision to use Protective Equipment, which Spit Hoods are basically, is surely an operational matter for Chief Officers?  The Commissioner has a Duty of Care for the Elf and Safery of his officers.  Who is the Mayor to ride roughshod over that?

Some arguements on the Twattersphere last night really got quite heated. ‘Friends’ were falling out over it.  A surprising number of people were arguing against them. Why?

If Johnny feels it is a little bit degarding to have a Spit Hood put over his head, or has a panic attack or feels a tad claustrophobic, is that worse than the potential consequences for the officer being spat on.  It is most unpleasant to be spat on, vile, but the unpleasantness is not really the issue, it is the potential transmission of diseases, the extended wait for the results of tests, the course of sntiviral treatment. That in itself is unpleasant I believe.

If little Johnny insisted in struggling and punching the officer would we be having this discussion about restraining him and putting him in handcuffs?

Whr the rights of a spitting, hissing prisoner more important than the rights of the officer(s) trying to restrain him?  Do the families of the officers not feature in this arguement?  The fears and worries spitting must bring into the family home are real, should we simply ignore that?

Finally, the simplest option is LITTLE JOHNNY COULD SIMPLY STOP SPITTING.

I’m sure one of you will correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe that Spit Hoods are used on compliant, non-spitting prisoners.

Amnesty UK weighed into the arguement with their justification for opposing (partially) the use of Spit Hoods

But they went quiet when it was pointed out that their previous view was at odds with last night’s contribution.

Have trials by all means, compare brand versus brand, design versus design, but DO SOMETHING.

With the government’s culling of the Police Service it is more important than ever to protect this endangered species.  We certainly don’t need political interference in operational policing matters, but I fear we are going to get it.

Want to share this post?
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Loading Likes...

10 Comments

  1. Is it not a human right to be able to withdraw your service if you choose but police don’t have that right either.
    It seem the human rights and well being of police officers has taken a back seat.
    The term, conditions, salaries, pay and pensions have all been reduced and decided over the years and the police have no choice but to accept it.
    They have been hit harder than any other public service.
    Not one MP has raised their voice in defense, precious few of our own senior officers have raised their heads above the parapet no journalist has printed the police case. When any other public servant would take industrial action and has, the police bravely soldiers on.
    It now appears that it is a human right to spit on and abuse the police!
    I have never been in favour of striking and proud that we the police were never in favour of such industrial action.
    The police more than anyone has always considered the public safety before their own.
    But the police concern for the public is being abused and has been for some time.
    The police are used as a political football to score political points and gain favour with loud but minority fringe groups for personal gains.
    Now it seems the police are not even allowed to protect themselves.
    But this goes far deeper than spit hoods it is just another example of the destruction of the police.
    I doubt the police will ever strike it has never been our way and the police still care too much for the vulnerable in society and know what will happen when we are not there.
    But potentially we soon will not be there and in some areas especially rural area’s we are not there. Numbers and moral has been so badly degraded that in some areas the police hardly function.
    Spit hoods are an important issue but by far not the most important issue the police face. It is just another example of political interference for no other reason but to gain a few points in the popularity contest and another nail in the police coffin.
    The Police in their current form are powerless to do anything and no one else seems interested or concerned.
    What has this world come to?

    • Well said that man, spot on.

      I do not recall a similar outcry over arming SOME of our officers.

      Did we ask the public if they would mind awfully if we carried an asp, spray, TASER? All capable of worse than a mesh hood. Did we?

      Did the public lambast us for having them, and even using them on occasions? Not if it was justified no. Everything has to be justified and if it isn’t there is your retribution.

      Never had all this malarkey when we were a Police Force

      Why is it so wrong for Police Officers to seek to protect themselves and why should we be ruled by a committee of millions? The Police are The Public etc is very true, but that doesn’t mean that the Police have to seek Public Approval (and even the media it seems) approval to introduce safety/protection equipment does it?

  2. Alan it’s just been allowed to become a unwieldy mess as more and more politicians and politics become involved in Policing.
    We have always been accountable to our discipline codes, and the law.
    Now accountability has become a stick to best us with!
    Before we can perform the simplest task it must go before countless committees who are often not even qualified to sit in judgment. We have so many self proclaimed “experts” and “observers” or ” commentators” few of which have any valid experience or knowledge.
    It’s a farce!
    We will soon have to apply in triplicate to take a dump and only be allowed to perform that function once we have received authority from some PCC, Mayor, parliamentary committee, and various self appointed experts then be observed by independent observers to ensure we perform the task correctly whilst wearing our body cameras!

  3. Personally I support the use of spit hoods having been subjected to some nasty miscreant gobbing at me. In my time I dealt with this in a fairly robust by dragging that persons coat/jacket or T shirt over the head. The issue appears to be that this is a new (To the Met) bit of kit and my understanding is that all new bits of PPE needs to be approved by the Police Authority, In this case the Mayor or deputy Mayor for Policing. My understanding is that Boris (Where’s my water cannon) Johnson gave tacit approval and an assumption appears to have been made that the new Mayor would also allow it. Any fool would know that this bit of kit would cause a few issues (You only have to read the papers over the last few months to know that) Yet again the Met have failed my former colleagues by not getting the basics right. Like it or not we are much more subject to Political Controls and approvals. PCC’s and The Mayor of London are still flexing their muscles and sadly the Met Senior Team with a few exceptions do not have the balls to stand up and fight for their officers corner. I would confidently expect these hoods to be in use by the end of the year. Even Amnesty are actually against their use. Phewwww

  4. I did tweet Amnesty and pointed out that if, as they say, they are in favour of using “some hoods” on “some occasions” they should liaise with Police Forces and, rather than criticise at every possible opportunity, be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
    They didn’t reply.

  5. I have been spat at at least three times in the last few months by some very unsavoury types. One of them was in hospital on bedwatch and not only spat at me and tried to bite me, he also spat at nurses and security guards as well as in the direction of some very poorly elderly patients. Absolutelt disgusting, vile creature who was a prolific burglar and had used violence against his last householder. I take it Amnesty and the Mayor (and maybe the public?) think his ‘right’ not to be a lil uncomfortable trump all the staff and patients of that hospital??? I came to the conclusion long ago that many politicians and Human Rights groups have a sinister agenda because no one could rationally think this type of foul person’s rights should come before the welfare of police and innocent members of society.

    • A vile practice and should not have to be endured under any circumstances. I wonder how long it would take the Mayor to change his mind after receiving a face full of phlegm?

      • The other alternative is for bobbies to plant them face down into the floor and wrap their/its jacket over their head so they can’t spit or bite. No officer should face infection or death because the anti Western Amnesty International group, that have links and sympathies to terrorists and groups, feel all warm and fuzzy about themselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *