New PPE gives no ‘meaningful protection’ to officers

The Scottish Police Federation has claimed newly announced protective equipment for officers will not provide any “meaningful protection”.

Police Scotland revealed on Thursday staff will be given surgical face masks to wear when working where it is not possible to adhere to social distancing measures.

However, the organisation representing police claim the scientific case for the personal protective equipment (PPE), known as type two masks, had not been made.

David Hamilton, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “The demand for PPE amongst our members is understandably high and whilst we note the service is now able to issue type two surgical masks, these will not provide any meaningful protection to officers.

“The advice of our expert panel means that the Scottish Police Federation cannot endorse their use as PPE.

“Our panel is unanimous in its views that the primary aim of the surgical mask is to prevent the wearer from infecting anyone else; and that they offer little effective barrier to the wearer from contracting the virus.

“In short the scientific case that these masks can be used as PPE against Covid-19  has yet to be made.”

Police Scotland has secured “initial stocks” of type two fluid resistant surgical masks and is distributing them in response to advice from Health Protection Scotland, Public Health England and the UK Government.

Officers and staff will be able to use the PPE in low risk situations where they are unable to maintain a two-metre distance from their colleagues or members of the public.

A total of 4,000 the police workforce have been supplied with the FFP3 mask, which offers an enhanced level of protection through a face-fitted respirator.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to protect the public and limit the spread of the virus, and to protect our own people as they carry out their duties.

“We recognise that every day our officers and staff are putting themselves in harm’s way and we want them to have the right protection to do their job.

“In line with scientific advice, these surgical masks will be available for use as a precaution for officers and staff dealing with incidents where social distancing measures are not possible.”

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