[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Police plea on terror protection
Armed police officer
The hoods are designed to offer basic protection in an attack
Police leaders have criticised the Home Office for not buying equipment to protect officers against a chemical, biological or nuclear attack.

More than 20,000 so-called "escape hoods" have been bought by the NHS for ambulance crews in England.

The Police Federation fears officers will have to go without the equipment because forces do not have enough cash.

The Home Office said it is up to individual chief constables to decide whether to purchase them.

Vital equipment

The police were involved in developing the hoods which are designed to give emergency workers about 20 minutes protection immediately after a chemical, biological or radiological attack by terrorists.

Bob Elder, chairman of the Police Federation's constables committee, said the equipment is vital but is unsure whether forces will pay for the equipment because they see it as a low priority.

He said: "Certainly, going back a couple of years, we would have expected the Home Office within the terrorism funding to include this in it.

"This isn't brand new this research, this has been going on for at least three years.

"I'm fearful now that there's clear indications the Home Office is saying we're not funding this, its down to individual forces, and that's where I see a problem arising."

Health and safety

The hoods, which look like a large plastic bag with two white filters on the front, are being launched by their manufacturer.

The Home Office said they were developed as part of a health and safety requirement to offer a basic level of protection to those who are first on the scene of an attack.

A Home Office spokesman said: "All UK police forces have been made aware of the availability of escape hoods.

"They have been advised by the Association of Chief Police Officers that individual forces should consider acquiring sufficient hoods to equip all patrolling officers at times of heightened threat.

"The decision to purchase them would be a matter for individual chief constables based on the national threat and on local conditions."


SEE ALSO
Forces ignore terror attack video
20 May 04 |  UK Politics
Bomb police 'need time to rest'
03 Aug 05 |  London

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific