"If you don’t want to be placed in a spit guard, don’t spit at a police officer."

 "Spitting at someone is a vile assault - The Shadow Home Secretary should talk to Met Police officers about the realities of being spat at on duty"

Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman Ken Marsh responds to Diane Abbott MP,  who has stated on Social Media that there is “no evidence that spit hoods are necessary or useful.”

Ken said: "I am beyond saddened by these comments from an experienced London MP. I wonder if she would like to talk to my colleagues and their families to get some idea of what they have to go through?

"802 Met Police officers have been spat by criminals in the past year – with 106 requiring hospital treatment. 42 police officers were spat at at the Notting Hill Carnival alone - with 4 needing to go to hospital.

"Just this past week, a Met police officer was spat at in the mouth and eye by a suspect. He is now anxiously awaiting test results.

"Shadow Home Secretary, we must Protect The Protectors."

Ken added: "The Met Police Federation want all police officers to be issued with Spit Guards. We must be clear that the only time this protection would be used would be when someone has threatened to spit or has spat at one of my colleagues.

"At that point I am only interested in the protection of my Metropolitan Police colleagues - no police officer goes to work expecting to be assaulted and abused. And being spat at is vile.

"If you don’t want to be placed in a spit guard, don’t spit at a police officer."

Spit Guards are currently being trailed in Met Custody suites in five areas - and after a successful pilot, the Federation will be looking for City Hall to confirm a full roll out to all Met Police officers.