Human Rights and Equality Commission Critical of Garda Silence on Use of Anti-Spit Guards on Children aged 12–18

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (the “Commission”) has expressed serious concern at news reports citing further data from the Policing Authority detailing the deployment of Anti-Spit Guards on children and people with mental health issues. The Commission reiterates the need for An Garda Síochána to provide clarity on the use of Anti-Spit Guards on children aged between 12 and 18.

In August 2020, in response to a request from An Garda Síochána to contribute to its evaluation of Anti-Spit Guards, the Commission wrote to the Assistant Commissioner for the Dublin Metropolitan Region voicing its concern that procedures on the use of Anti-Spit Guards are silent on their use on children aged between 12 and 18.

In its letter to An Garda Síochána, the Commission also highlighted data gaps in the reporting of the use of the Anti-Spit Guards.  The absence of disaggregated data on the grounds of ethnicity, race, and national origin, and the total absence of data on the use of additional force, whether medical assistance was sought, perceived characteristics of an individual (e.g. signs of a learning difficulty), and length of time it was deployed, prevents an effective review of the use of Anti-Spit Guards.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated today:

News reports of Anti-Spit guards being used on a young teenager and people with mental illnesses raises further questions over procedural safeguards in place.

”Anti-Spit Guards should only ever be used as a restraint of last resort, in the uniquely challenging circumstances of a pandemic. The Commission would strongly query their use on a young teenager or on vulnerable adults.”

 

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Karen Joynt, IHREC

(085) 1746883

kjoynt@ihrec.ie

Follow us on twitter and Instagram @_IHREC

Editors Note

The full letter sent by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to An Garda Síochána is available on the following link:

https://www.ihrec.ie/documents/letter-to-assistant-commissioner-dublin-metropolitan-region-re-use-of-anti-spit-guards-by-an-garda-siochana/

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

 

 

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