Spit kits issued to bus drivers in West Midlands

16 August 2017  •  Author(s): Eurotransport

West Midlands Safer Travel Police are catching more and more offenders using DNA from spit kits.

Spit kits West Midlands

West Midlands bus drivers have been given mini DNA kits to help police track anyone who spits at them or their passengers which are proving to be increasingly effective at identifying offenders and getting them in front of the courts.

The spit kits (which feature swabs, gloves and sealed bags) allow staff to take saliva samples and protect them from contamination before sending them for forensic analysis. If the suspect is not on police computers, their DNA is kept on the National Database for ever and the case will be resurrected if the suspect is later arrested.

“Spitting is a disgusting, despicable offence. Drivers and passengers should not be expected to tolerate it on our bus routes,” said PC Shaun Hickinbottom, the Investigation Officer for Safer Travel. “Spitting at someone leaves a trail of DNA behind and these spit kit devises allows us to obtain irrefutable DNA evidence which help us track down offenders and secure convictions at court. This is a criminal offence and we will deal with this seriously. We have had cases of offenders being handed short jail sentences after spitting at passengers or bus staff.”

The Safer Travel Partnership stressed that spitting would be dealt with as a criminal offence, but also urged passengers to help tackle non-criminal nuisance behaviour by using the See Something Say Something campaign.

“We will pursue anyone who is guilty of this revolting behaviour”

“My staff have the absolute right to work without being spat on. We will pursue anyone who is guilty of this revolting behaviour,” added Tom Stables, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands. “These DNA kits mean we can help Safer Travel Police track these people down, stop them and make sure they face justice.”

So far in 2017, 50 spitting incidents towards a member of staff have been reported in the West Midlands.

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