BUS drivers will now be armed with forensic spit kits in a bid to catch yobs who assault them.
Blackpool Transport and Lancashire County Council’s Safer Travel Unit have handed out 100 kits for use on buses in the Blackpool and Fleetwood area.
The kits, which contain sterile swabs, latex gloves and an evidence bag, help drivers collect an offender’s DNA by retrieving saliva samples from the scene of an assault.
Transport PCSO Shaz Lloyd said: “Bus drivers are carrying out a public service and it is appalling they should be assaulted in this manner while going about their work.
“Spitting is not only unpleasant, it is also unhygienic and can spread disease.
“We want offenders to know drivers are carrying these kits and that if they carry out an assault then their DNA can be collected and used as evidence to put them before the courts.”
Transport chiefs hope thugs will be deterred from spitting at bus drivers or passengers by highlighting the fact the kits are carried on board.
Collected samples will be checked against a national DNA database.
If no match is found, the culprit’s DNA is stored and subsequent database searches are made at regular intervals.
Trevor Roberts, managing director of Blackpool Transport, said: “The successful introduction of these spit kits in other parts of the country has led to the identification and prosecution of culprits of this type of disgusting assault.
“Our staff are entitled to do their job without threat of assault and it is unfortunate in today’s society we have to go to such lengths to protect them.”
Craig Brown, from the Safer Travel Unit, said: “Ourselves, Lancashire Constabulary and Blackpool Transport are committed to ensuring members of the public can enjoy a peaceful and hassle-free journey when using the bus and tram network.”
Anyone who experiences anti-social behaviour while using public transport, should report to the Safer Travel Unit on 0845 053 0040.
Alternatively, text the word BUS, then space and your message to 82070 including details of the incident, location and bus route.