Traffic wardens to be given DNA 'spit' kits
TRAFFIC wardens in Edinburgh are expected to be the first in Britain to be issued with DNA recovery kits to trace assailants who spit at them.
The move follows a series of recent incidents, including a cyclist spitting in the face of a female warden.
The 56 police wardens, who patrol the city’s Greenway bus lanes, will have access to the swab kits within minutes by calling vans equipped with them.
The firm which employs Edinburgh’s parking attendants, the so-called "Enforcers", may also follow suit.
ScotRail pioneered the use of the kits, which have led to the conviction of several assailants. They have also been introduced by bus firms in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, other train operators and the London Underground.
The British Transport Police, which patrols the railways, has successfully tracked down assailants by matching samples to the national DNA database. Most such offenders already have criminal records and are listed on the database.
The kits include sterile swabs, to pick up any trace of the offender’s DNA, gloves, and a sealed test tube.
Inspector David Legge, who is in charge of the Lothian and Borders Police’s traffic warden section, said there had been only a few reported cases over the past few months, but many others went unreported.
He said people had spat at the back of wardens’ jackets without them noticing, while others spat at patrol vans and scooters.
Insp Legge said: "Even just the thought of being spat upon will sicken and repel most people, and nobody should have to work with the fear of this happening to them.
"Unfortunately, wardens are occasionally confronted by irate drivers or members of the public. Verbal abuse is common and thankfully a physical assault only occurs in very isolated cases."
The officer said the kits were another form of evidence to help convict assailants, in addition to reassuring staff.
He said: "They should not have to live in fear of this happening. If someone is going to be stupid enough to spit at a police warden, we will provide every level of evidence necessary to prosecute them.
"We will not accept violence or the threat of such, for carrying out their duties. People who choose to resort to physical means will be pursued and the powerful tool of DNA profiling used for that purpose. The public will, by now, be aware of just what can be done in the DNA evidence arena and we intend to fully use it."
A spokeswoman for Central Parking System, which employs the city’s parking attendants, said it had no immediate plans to introduce DNA kits, but they would be kept under review.
She said: "We do not tolerate any form of abuse or aggression towards our parking attendants, who are ordinary people going about their jobs.
"Sadly, they have to put up with this sort of thing on a daily basis. During their training, parking attendants are given advice on how to deal with abusive members of the public."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North