February 22, 2019 4.04 pm This story is over 34 months old

Local Democracy Weekly: Spit guard and taser row

Police bosses, officers and members of the public joined in to support the use of the tools in fighting crime

Social media was charged this week with police officers and their supporters spitting feathers over comments made by Lincoln MP Karen Lee.

The story in particular also appeared to nudge the two sides into coming together after six months of trying.

Ms Lee, speaking in the House of Commons, had criticised “limited evidence” over the use of spit guards and tasers in tackling violent crime.

However, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones was happy to provide figures in defence of their choice to opt for the equipment and highlight how such use had helped defuse a number of situations.

He wasn’t the only one to respond, however, with both of Lincolnshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constables and its Head of Professional Standards calling on Karen Lee to meet with them – apparently having been asking for six months already.

Ms Lee did respond to meet with a comment that she would be available Thursday evening “for you to come and have a chat”.

Plenty of others tweeted in support of the comments, however.

Grantham officer Alex Taylor’s personal account of helping a colleague saw an offender spit at the ground “twice before getting in the vehicle, once in the vehicle at the front passenger seat, spit hood applied and he spat in to that as well”.

“Great and important piece of personal protection equipment,” he added.

Lincolnshire Neighbourhood Policing Team Seargeant Rick Mosley said he had taken Ms Lee out on foot patrol when she was a councillor to see first-hand the violence police face.

Others expressed shock that “anyone could be against giving the police the tools to do their job effectively and safely.”

Craig Chaplin added: “Tasers and hoods used proportionally by well trained officers keep police and public safe, preventing escalations that could take police off the street or damage morale.”

While its important to get data and evidence to back up your claims, it does appear the MP in this instance could have done more before her statement in the House in her own constituency.

And while one can also appreciate the concerns over the health and safety aspects of the tools, surely this equipment continues to help police do their job. — Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines

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