Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
- Does your police force use spit hoods on suspects?
- Does your force use them only on suspects in custody or also in public places?
- How many times has your force used a spit hood every month from January 2016 to November 2019?
- For each time a spit hood was used, can you please highlight whether it was used in custody or in public?
- For each time a spit hood was used, can you please share the age of the person the spit hood was used on?
- For each time a spit hood was used, can you please highlight whether it was used on a person judged to have a mental illness?
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.
I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.
- Spitguards were first issued to Northumbria Police officers on 24th July 2018 so we can only provide from that date
Oct 2019 25
Sep 2019 37
Aug 2019 35
Jul 2019 34
Jun 2019 40
May 2019 38
Apr 2019 45
Mar 2019 39
Feb 2019 27
Jan 2019 30
Dec 2018 38
Nov 2018 27
Oct 2018 31
Sep 2018 26
Aug 2018 37
Public place – 359 times
Custody - 163 times
Perceived age count
11 – 17 43
18 – 34 286
35 – 49 171
50 – 64 9
6. The subject was perceived by the attending officers dealing as Mentally Disabled on 28 occasions. Further interrogation of the recording systems suggested this related to 21 actual persons.
It should be noted The term “mentally disabled” is an exact lift from the recording systems used. There is no definition of what type or mental health issue the subject is suffering from. This could be a temporary, transient or permanent issue.
The Use of Force recording is all to do with the officer’s perception or understanding of the incident. Officers are not required to record any additional rationale for their selection of the boxes.
It should also be noted that a person may be restrained in both public and custody settings.
The recording system used requires each officer to account for the use of force, they do not necessarily relate to a specific person, eg 350 records do not necessarily relate to 350 separate persons having the spit guard used. Several officers could have been involved in restraining that person and have therefore submitted multiple records for one subject.
For this reason the results provided in our response should not be taken as an accurate account for the actual numbers provided, but they are the best we can provide from recording systems used within the permitted time constraints.
If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would expect that you to take into consideration the factors highlighted above so as not to mislead members of the public or official bodies or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.