1. ITV Report

Hundreds of spit guards issued to Gloucestershire Police officers

Gloucestershire Police demonstrated how the spit guards worked to ITV News earlier this year. Credit: ITV West Country

Nearly 300 police officers in Gloucestershire will be issued with spit guards.

It follows a trial in the force's custody suite earlier this year.

The hoods are used by 37 other forces in England and Wales and are designed to be placed over the head of a suspect during arrest, protecting staff from catching diseases.

However they have been criticised by human rights groups including Amnesty International, which called them “a cruel and dangerous form of restraint”.

Gloucestershire Police show how the spit guards can be torn open for a quick release Credit: ITV West Country

Mike Harrison, used to work on the frontline of Gloucestershire Police and has been spat at while on duty.

He says they are a vital bit of kit for officers today.

Spitting at police officers is a vile and abhorrent act. Having been spat at myself on a number of occasions and having been through months of blood tests and medication awaiting the all clear, anything to stop spitting is an essential and effective piece of equipment for staff.

– Mike Harrison, Gloucestershire Police Federation Chairman

Training is being rolled out for nearly 300 officers.

Initially the guards will be kept in police vehicles but may be considered to be kept on individual officers.