Trev Sherwood

Why all Police Officers should be issued with Spit Hoods

Spit hood’s within policing are a very topical subject at the moment. some would agree that all police officers should be issued with Spit Hoods. They allow police officers protection against people who are looking to spit and bite officers. They are very important when it comes to police officer safety. It could actually be a matter of life or death for the constables.

Spit hoods or there technical term spit guards are to prevent officers against the risk of blood borne viruses. Officers who have been spat at have to undertake blood tests and a lengthy wait to see if they have contracted any infections. This can be a painful process for the officers and their family.

A Police officer once told me that ‘they’d rather be punched in the face than spat at‘ during a debate about whether or not police officers should be allowed to use spit guards.

Recently a policewoman died after contracting tuberculosis, she was spat in the face handing her a death sentence. Something that could have been avoided. That is one death too many. Although it didn’t happen in the UK it was a member of the police family who tragically died. The Ukrainian policewoman named Arina Koltsova was simply doing her job when a thug spat at her and robbed her and her family of life. Koltsova collapsed at work then colleagues released the serious consequences of being spat at. That one tragic case is strong enough case for all police officers here in the UK to be issued with Spit Hoods. It is my view that no officer should have to go to work and do their job to be faced with being spat at the BBC argued that it is degrading for an offender to have to have a hood placed over their head. Let’s just go back a couple of steps here! what is actually degrading is that someone is having spit flung at their face within a confined environment. Anyone who thinks they are degrading, you are entitled to your view and I respect that. But I would like to mention that Spit Guards are only ever used when a police officer has already been spat at and they want it to stop. These incidents happen within a confined environment and to be honest who wants to be spat in the face.

I would argue that our cops are having to face being spat at and chunks taken out of their skin every time they face a drunk, drugged and disorderly customer. and a simple hood can prevent all of that from happening.

Some forces have been brave enough to stand up for officers rights and say yes we are issuing spit hoods. We need to spot sitting on the fence here and issue our officers with the safe tools to do the job we expect them to do.

Che Donald of the Police Federation and he said that “There can be serious health implications of being spat at, including uncertainty of infection from bodily fluids and the need to go on to anti-virals causing nausea and impacting on personal life.

“It is important that officers are given the right tools to ensure the public’s and their own safety when managing incidents.

Some police officers who wish to remain anonymous told me that “Spitting is a form of assault and officers have a right to go to work and expect to stay safe.” another said “They are degrading and you should have one placed upon you if spitting. They work well and prevent blood borne viruses and i think every officer should be able to use them if they deem suitable and justified” and another concluded “Don’t spit at the police and you won’t get a spit hood on” while another added “One person commenting believing that every force should be able to use them saying “Every force should be able to use spit hoods, nothing more disgusting than being spat at, the scumbags don’t give a s&@t about what they do.”

Within the UK there are 17 police forces out of 47 that are issuing police officers with Spit Hoods and I believe they are really taking the safety of our police officers seriously. They are as follows.

  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary
  • Sussex Police
  • Northamptonshire Police
  • North Wales Police
  • Cheshire Police
  • British Transport Police
  • Hertfordshire Constabulary
  • West Yorkshire Police
  • Norfolk Police
  • Bedfordshire Police
  • Suffolk Police
  • Derbyshire Constabulary
  • West Mercia Police
  • Staffordshire Police
  • Surrey Police
  • Police Scotland
  • Hampshire Constabulary

It would be great if more police forces took the safety of our officers more seriously. After all, if you did not spit at a police officer you would not have a hood placed over your head.

Let’s start taking our officer safety seriously and look past the BBC headlines of degrading spit hoods and put ourselves in the shoes of that police officer who has just been spat at and can not doing anything to prevent it from happening again.

Because it is important to remember that when someone has a spit hood on it’s because that officer has already been spat at or had a chunk taken out of their hand.

hope you have found this blog insightful and share it with others who may benefit from a greater understanding on this issue. Feel free to send me your feedback via Twitter @TrevSherwoodPH.

About the Author
Trev Sherwood is a prominent voice within the policing community, focuses on hate crimes and antisemitism within the UK.