Police Need Spit Hoods to Protect Them from Coronavirus Attacks, MPs Told

AYSGARTH FALLS, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 28: Police Officers from North Yorkshire Police and Park Rangers from the Dales National Park reinforce the importance of social distancing and staying at home at the Aysgarth Falls National Park Visitor Centre which is closed to the public as the UK adjusts to …
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Police need to be able to hood violent suspects on the streets who attempt to spit, bite, or cough at them while claiming to have coronavirus, a representative from the Police Federation told MPs.

Spit guards, also known as spit hoods, are kept in police custody suites and are placed over the heads of violent suspects who spit, bite, or threaten to spit at and bite police officers.

Sergeant Simon Kempton, whose organisation speaks for rank-and-file police officers, told the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in comments reported by Sky News: “We need those on the street as well because I’ve got just as much chance of being spat at on the street as I have in custody.”

Addressing the committee via video link, as the United Kingdom remains on pandemic lockdown, Sgt Kempton continued: “It’s an emotive issue for me because I’ve had other people’s blood in my mouth after they’ve spat at me.

“Now more than ever, while COVID-19 is being weaponised, we need those spit guards in the pockets of every single police officer, not just in custody, but on the street as well.”

Last month, the Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill QC ruled that coronavirus coughing attacks would result in arrests for common assault with the possibility of up to two years’ imprisonment.

The decision came after a rise in the number of reports of reprobates spitting at medics, police, and other enforcement personnel while claiming to have the deadly respiratory virus. In one instance, a group of teenagers spat in the face of an RSPCA officer, the officer saying they yelled at her, “have corona, bitch”.

Officers who have been spat or coughed at by someone claiming to have coronavirus must quarantine themselves in case they are infected and are a transmission risk to others, meaning that they are taken out of the workforce.

Last month, it was revealed that one-in-five London Metropolitan Police Service officers and staff are self-isolating, either because they had contracted COVID-19 or were suspected of having the Chinese virus.

There has been a rising problem in Europe with coronavirus spitting attacks against police officers. Last week, the Austrian capital of Vienna saw three spitting assaults in one day, with one of the suspects confirmed to have coronavirus.

In March, a woman in the Paris commune of Longjumeau who claimed to have coronavirus was jailed for seven months for spitting at police, calling them “dirty whites”, and saying “I hope you will all die of Covid.” In the same month, a man in Montpellier, near the southern coast of France, who spat at and attempted to bite police while claiming to have the virus was jailed for eight months.

While in Sweden, a pair of YouTubers deleted a video of themselves coughing on people as they asked for directions to the hospital, which they allegedly filmed as a prank.

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