Wales

Policeman's groin injury complaint secures new kit

Met Police officers during the London riots Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Insp Paul McKeown said Met Police riot officers had the straps as standard

It is a delicate issue but one which is important for police officers in the middle of a riot.

Protective boxes are deemed essential to protect the groins of those dealing with public order offences.

But a North Wales Police inspector said he was injured because the force did not supply the straps needed to keep his in place.

After he raised concerns, the force carried out a review and will now provide the kit.

Insp Paul McKeown, who moved to north Wales in 2002, said his previous force, the Metropolitan Police, issued straps to all public support unit (PSU) officers, who are trained in public order and riot control.

When he joined North Wales Police, he was told instead to "wear two pairs of tight underpants" to hold the box - like those worn by cricketers - in place.

He said he did not do this as it prevented him running properly and, as a result, was injured during a training exercise last year when he was hit by a wooden block thrown by a "rioter".

"I was too late to prevent a brick hitting me right where it hurts and down I went," said Insp McKeown, writing in the North Wales Police Federation magazine, Your Voice.

"10 minutes later, when I was able to stand up, I re-joined my laughing colleagues."

Image copyright Getty Images

Insp McKeown, who is chairman of the north Wales inspectors' branch board, said he submitted a health and safety form last August and his line manager fully backed his request that straps be issued.

But he raised concerns in the federation magazine after hearing nothing more about it.

However, North Wales Police has now said it would provide the straps, which will be available on request.

Temporary Supt Nick Evans said other officers also called for the straps to be available.

"The safety of all our officers is of paramount importance to the organisation," he added.

"As with many police roles, PSU officers are often called upon to put themselves in harm's way and as such it is essential we provide the appropriate equipment to keep them as safe as possible."

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