Freedom of Information404Open Data

Police should reveal cost of new ‘Spit Hoods’, claim transparency experts

September 30, 2016

Petition against ‘inhumane’ restraint launched…

spit-hoodsMembers of 38 Degrees have launched a campaign against “inhumane” spit hoods being trialled by the Metropolitan Police in London – and Request Initiative has responded by demanding the force publish the costs and risk assessments relating to the restraints.

Sadiq Khan, the Major of London, has put the introduction of the new weapon on hold and asked the public for advice. This prompted a 38 Degrees member to launch a petition. And now Request has filed a Freedom of Information request so this debate can be fully informed.

Clare Farrell, a member of 38 Degrees, said in the mass-mail out: “The police already have handcuffs, batons, leg restraints and can use force. Do they really need to put bags over people’s heads too? Major police forces around the UK don’t allow the use spit hoods – and they shouldn’t be allowed to be used in London.”

Human Rights

Jack Castle, the legal advisor at Request, said in his letter to the Met Police: “Disclosure of the nature and operation of spit hoods would greatly contribute to public debate about the role and function of the police, and the commitment of the UK and its institutions to safeguard human rights pursuant to the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Convention.”

He added: “As spit hoods are considered a ‘use of force’, there is clear public interest in judging and becoming satisfied that this use of force is appropriate.”

The request to the Met Police has today been published online [160925-ri-mps072-re001] and Request Initiative CIC, a non-profit community interest company, intends to take the case to all the way to the Information Tribunal if necessary.

Brendan Montague, managing director of Request, said: “One tactic the police may use to evade telling the public exactly how much these spit hoods will cost would be to claim that it would take too long to get the information we have requested.

“However, if the Met Police does try and say that it is about to introduce this new weapon to the capital and yet its top brass don’t already know how much it would cost the taxpayer, that would be a major national news story in and of itself.”