February 20, 2019 10.42 am This story is over 34 months old

PCC defends tasers and spit guards after MP criticism

Spit guards were used 32 times between April and December

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones has defended his force’s use of tasers and spit guards after Lincoln MP Karen Lee questioned their effectiveness in the House of Commons.

Speaking on a debate on violent crime, Ms Lee accused ministers of “failing to tackle the underlying causes of crime” and “relying on eye-catching initiatives designed to achieve good headlines”.

She criticised a lack of evidence to support some government measures including increased stop and search, quoting research from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, the Home Office and the College of Policing.

“There is a similar absence of evidence to support the use of spit hoods, which are almost designed to humiliate those who are stopped, and the same is true of tasers,” she said.

Labour MP for Lincoln Karen Lee

In response Mr Jones said he continued to be “committed to provide front line officers with the right equipment to keep them and residents safe”.

He said tasers and spit guards aimed to deter violent offenders from causing serious harm.

Last year, he said, tasers were drawn 287 times but only fired on 41 occasions – less than once a week.

“That means that in 246 incidents the mere appearance of a taser de-escalated the situation and officers were able to make an arrest without further violence.

“This represents compelling evidence that they are working. Without them we cannot know how many more people would have been injured or worse.”

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

He said spit guards were “only used by trained officers” after an offender had tried to bite or spit at an officer, or threatened to do so.

“In such cases it is obvious their appropriate use is warranted.

“The consequences for a police officer of being bitten or having blood or saliva stat into their mouth or eyes can be appalling and the emotional distress of waiting for the results of the tests that follow puts horrendous strain on the officer and their family.

According to Lincolnshire Police, since the equipment was brought in in April, the force has used them 32 times.

No complaints to the force have been made to the force regarding their use which Mr Jones said was a “further testament to the professionalism of the officers here in Lincolnshire”.

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