Spit and Bite Guards - Equality Impact Assessment
This consultation contains information in relation to the Police Service of Northern Ireland's use of Spit and Bite Guards, first introduced in March 2020 with the aim of protecting police officers and staff against spitting or biting acts that can result in injury, infection or psychological impacts.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated potential dangers for officers and staff who deal operationally with persons who may spit or bite, in March 2020 the Chief Constable made a decision to temporarily issue Spit and Bite Guards to Covid-19 response teams, custody staff, Armed Response Units and cell van crews. This provided a high degree of reassurance to officers and staff. In January 2021 Spit and Bite Guards were further rolled out to all frontline police officers.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is considering a permanent Spit and Bite Guard rollout beyond a Covid-19 policing environment. An Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) has been commenced to gauge public reaction to using Spit and Bite Guards on a permanent basis and the aspiration is that this EQIA will form the rationale for continued use.
This EQIA examines the likely impact of Spit and Bite Guards on the nine categories of people set out in Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. The EQIA exercise was considered necessary as it is accepted from assessments and recent usage reports that a large proportion of those who engage in this type of anti-social behaviour tend to be younger males therefore the permanent use of Spit and Bite Guards will have an adverse impact on certain protected groups. This public consultation and EQIA will help the Police Service of Northern Ireland assess how this impact can or might be reduced against those protected groups, introducing an alternative policy to lessen the effect and promote equality of opportunity and good relations.
View or download the Spit and Bite Guards Equality Impact Assessment Document
View or download the Spit and Bite Guards Equality Impact Assessment Consultation Questionnaire
EQIA Final Report
The final Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) report on the use of Spit and Bite Guards by the Police Service of Northern Ireland is available to view via the link below. This report represents an assessment of the impact of the continued use of Spit and Bite Guards on the 9 protected Section 75 groups.
View or download the Spit and Bite Guards Equality Impact Assessment Final Report
View or download the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Bi-Annual Report to the Northern Ireland Policing Board on the Use of Spit and Bite Guards (January 2023)
There will be a short delay to the publication of Stage 7 of the EQIA on the use of Spit and Bite Guards. Stage 7 refers to “monitoring for adverse impact in the future and publication of the results of such monitoring."
View or download the Use of Spit and Bite Guards Interim EQIA Stage 7 Data
View or download the PSNI Response to the Recommendations of the NIPB Human Rights Advisor on the Use of Spit and Bite Guards
Alternative formats and further information
Hard copies of this consultation document and copies in other formats, including Braille, large print etc., can be made available upon request. If you require an alternative format or a language other than English, please let us know and we will do our best to assist you. If you require any further information on the consultation process or the content of this document, or any other assistance to make a response, please contact the department.
We can be contacted using the details provided below:
By email: [email protected]
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
42 Montgomery Road
Please note, this consultation ran for a 12 week period from Monday 1st March 2021 to Monday 24th May.
The consultation period has now closed and a number of submissions have been received by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
A formal report summarising the results is now being prepared for the Chief Constable. This report will be tabled at a forthcoming board within the Service after which the results of the consultation will be published.