Tyne & Wear

Durham Police say Twitter poll backs spit hood use

A spit hood Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption A third of the UK's police forces use spit hoods, and some only in certain circumstances, such as in custody suites

Police say a poll on social media shows overwhelming support for using spit hoods on suspects.

Durham Police used the Twitter survey to test opinion on their use to protect officers from spitting and biting.

The hoods have been criticised for humiliating and panicking suspects and making it difficult to tell if they are struggling to breathe.

Although such polls are not representative and have no statistical value, a force spokesman said its large social media following made it "fitting that we ask for public opinion in this way".

"A poll provides measurable results which can help to shape decisions," he said.

The tweet asked for views on the "restraint device intended to prevent an arrested individual from spitting or biting".

One person responded: "I'm guessing the 7% will be the spitters and biters then".

Another said they fully supported the use of spit hoods "as officers need protecting from this disgusting assault".

An investigation last year found a third of forces used them.

Correction 28 February 2018: This report has been amended following a complaint that was upheld by the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit.

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