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To: Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, The Metropolitan Police
Don't allow the Met to use spit hoods
Don't allow the Metropolitan Police to use spit hoods in London.
Why is this important?
A spit hood is a material bag that goes over someone’s head with a drawstring to tighten it - and the Metropolitan Police want to start using these restraints on people across London.
Spit hoods are degrading and inhuman, and can be used on anyone. In Suffolk, a spit hood was placed on an 11 year old girl with severe learning difficulties. Having a bag put over your head while being held down would be traumatic for anyone, let alone a vulnerable child.
The police already have handcuffs, batons, leg restraints and are allowed to use force... Do they really need to use spit hoods too? There appears to be little solid proof they are actually necessary, but what is certain is that they can be dangerous, and cause significant panic for a detainee, whilst officers could protect themselves with masks and eye protection instead. The image of their use has been described as reminiscent of torture and horror films.
They can prevent recognition of urgent health issues involving breathing and swallowing, and with inequality a hot topic currently for the UK society at large (including the Police), there are questions around whether or not their use could deepen social divides and exacerbate inequality issues, particularly bearing in mind their recent use against those with mental health issues.
Major police forces around the UK don't allow the use of spit hoods - and they shouldn't be allowed to be used in London.