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Date Responded 19 November 2018

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.

You asked:

The request relates to the use of spit guards (also referred to as ‘spit hoods’ or ‘spit and bite guards’ – please assume all questions relate to each term) within the Northumbria Police, and infectious disease sustained by officers in the course of their duties and is:

1. For the provision of the number of officers who have contracted infectious disease as a result of biological fluid contamination or needle stick injury or bites from humans in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date)

2. For the provision of the final medical diagnoses of such infections in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date)

3. For the provision of the number of officers who have contracted infectious disease as a result of having been spat at by a detainee in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date)

4. For the provision of the number of officers who have contracted infectious disease as a result of needlestick injury in the course of their duty in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date)

5. For the provision of the number of officers who have contracted infectious disease as a result of bites from humans in the course of their duty in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date)

6. For the provision of the number of officers who have required prophylactic treatment for infection as a result of having been spat at by a detainee in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date)

7. For the provision of the number of officers who have required prophylactic treatment for infectious disease as a result of needlestick injury in the course of their duty in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date)

8. For the provision of the number of officers who have required prophylactic treatment for infectious disease as a result of bites from humans in the course of their duty in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date)

 

Additionally:

9. Does your police service use spit guards?

10. If yes to Question 9, when were they approved for use and by whom?

11. If yes to Question 9, did your police service undertake any form of assessment of the spit guards prior to operational use. If yes, please provide copies of the assessment.

12. If yes to Question 9, what is the brand and manufacturer of spit guard that is used?

13. On how many occasions in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date) have spit guards been used on detainees?

14. Have there been any adverse occurrences to detainees when spit guards have been deployed in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (to date)?

15. Please provide copies of any training materials used to train officers in the use of spit guards.

For the avoidance of doubt, no personal or identifiable data is being sought. We have specific research interests in restraint and control of detainees in police custody, the safety of police officers and the effects of restraint and control of detainees on the detainee and police officers.

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the HR & Custody Departments of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

 

1-5. No information held.  The Accident Recording System doesn’t specify ‘biological fluid’

6-8. No information held.  We do not hold treatment given.

9.&10. Yes - 20th July 2018 by the Chief Constable.

11. Northumbria Police did not undertake any form of assessment of the spit guards prior to operational use.  The assessment made by the Self Defence and Restraint Working Group assessment was utilised.

12. Kit Design Spit Guard Pro.

13. 20/7/18 to 29/10/18 – 93 times.

14. No

15. See attached

FOI 1095/18

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