Spit guards are 'essential' to protect police

They are controversial, but according to Chief Constables in the south, they are essential to protect police from a range of dangerous infectious diseases, including hepatitis C.

Spit guards, hoods which are placed over the heads of suspects to prevent them spitting at officers, are being issued to frontline staff in Hampshire and theThames Valley.

Figures show that in Hampshire 126 cases of officers being subjected to spitting been reported since last April.

In the Thames Valley it's even worse with more than 300 incidents.

Police say officers have the right to go about their work without being spat at, but civil rights campaigners have expressed concern.

Martin Dowse reports.

Martin spoke to Lee Byrne, Personal Safety Training at Hampshire Constabulary, David Hardcastle Assistant Chief Constable of Operations, Solicitor Kevin Donoghue and John Apter, Chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation.