The problem with a ‘No Touch Policy’
Many service providers adopt a ‘No Touch Policy’ when staff are to dealing with violent / aggressive service users and quite frankly I find it incredible that it is allowed.
Let me be frank, legislation governing use of force / self defence is applicable the length and breadth of England and the legislation knows no boundaries and is applied evenly to every citizen in the country, why then do people who write and implement a ‘No Touch Policy’ think that laws there to protect people are not applicable to their staff?
As an example a member of staff for a service provider working with offenders currently on probation have a service user who habitually consumes alcohol and displays aggression towards members of staff and there is an expectation that the staff just ‘get on with it’ and under no circumstances are allowed to ‘lay hands’ on the service user.
I fully understand the need for service users to be protected however the staff need to have an equal protection from aggression and even assault when it occurs. Stopping staff from protecting themselves from assault goes against legislation that is in place to protect people so how can it be right?
To quote the Criminal Law Act 1967, section 1, section 3 “A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of a crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large”
Being assaulted is a crime, being exposed to a threat that makes the person fear for their safety / in fear of unlawful violence is also a crime. The law is quite clear, people by law can defend themselves as long as it is reasonable in the circumstances. If staff hands are being tied by a ‘No Touch Policy’ and they are assaulted has the person who wrote and implemented the policy been complicit in that assault by instructing staff to not defend themselves?
Could the member of staff member have a claim against the company? You bet!