30,000 police officers at risk after asbestos found at training facilities

28th May 2015

As many as 30,000 police officers may have been exposed to asbestos at some point, as the material has been found at a number of training facilities, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The buildings, which were used for firearm training between 1980 and 2007, are currently under examination to identify which contain the deadly material. Any officers who may have come into contact with asbestos are now being contacted by the Metropolitan Police, including those that have retired from or left the force, reports bbc.co.uk.

Chief superintendent Mike Gallagher, from the Specialist Firearms Command, said the force will offer full support to any officers affected; they will receive guidance, contacts, advice and detailed information regarding asbestos exposure.

“Clearly this is not just an issue affecting the Met, with asbestos present in many industrial and residential properties built prior to 2000,” he noted. “However, we are committed to providing a high duty of care to our officers – past and present. Due to the time period in question and number of possible sites, we need to make contact with a large number of officers.”

Professor John Cherrie of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh stated that low exposure to asbestos is unlikely to cause any harm, but prolonged contact can cause serious diseases. Therefore, only those who work directly with asbestos on a daily basis are thought to be at risk.