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  1. ITV Report

Devon and Cornwall Police to introduce spit and bite guards

Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Devon and Cornwall Police says it will introduce spit and bite guards (SBG) to limit the number of assaults on officers, staff and other emergency service workers.

According to the force, 216 officers and staff were spat on in Devon and Cornwall between 2016-2017.

216
officers and staff were spat on in Devon and Cornwall between 2016-2017.

It says assaults can have distressing implications for officers and staff and it is, "important that they have the right equipment to keep them safe".

Biting and spitting is a heinous act and the new SBGs will provide additional protection to help keep everyone safe.

– Ian Drummond-Smith, Chief Superintendent, Devon and Cornwall Police
216 officers and staff were spat on in Devon and Cornwall between 2016-2017. Credit: PA

The Force says it has considered a number of alternatives and that the preferred option has been, "robustly medically tested to ensure the safety of those in our care".

A total of 24 police forces nationally have already deployed SBGs, including Dorset Police who brought in the equipment last month.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill was recently amended to double the maximum penalty available for assaults on emergency workers, including spitting.

24
Police forces already use spit and bite guards.

Emergency services across the South West came together last year to launch the #unacceptable campaign; in partnership with Exeter City Football Club and Exeter Chiefs Rugby club.

This campaigned was aimed at raising awareness of and reducing the number of incidents of assaults on emergency workers.

South Western Ambulance Service has supported Devon and Cornwall Police's decision to bring in SBGs.

Any assault on staff across the emergency services is unacceptable. We therefore support our police colleagues in the safe and appropriate use of these spit and bite guards.

– Ken Wenman, Chief Executive, South Western Ambulance Service