Published: 13:07, 07 September 2017
Kent Police have rolled out the use of spit guards by training officers how to deploy them.
The force has been briefing more than 700 policemen and women how to use them and they have been issued them as part of their personal protective equipment.
The guard, which is more commonly known as a spit hood, is lightweight, fully breathable, made of mesh and 98% see-through.
While it will only mainly be used when officers are trying to restrain a person who is detained, it will also make sure people do not pose a threat to their safety or to the public.
At the moment, if an officer is spat at, they have to up to six months to find out if they have been infected.
In most cases during this time the officer will have to take medication which can cause side-effects.
Video: Police try out the spit hoods
It is thought this is leading to a number of cases where officers are spat at going unreported.
"There can be no excuses for spitting" - Assistant Chief Constable Tony Blaker
During training constables are being told they should only put the hood on someone once they have been given a verbal warning and the cases of vulnerable young people and those who go through mental health crisis will also be taken into account.
Assistant Chief Constable Tony Blaker said: "Kent Police has a duty of care to protect its officers in the course of their duties and spit guards are an additional piece of equipment that will protect officers, and in some cases the public too.
"There can be no excuses for spitting - it is completely unacceptable behaviour.
"Therefore our message is simple 'Don't spit and officers won't have to apply a guard'."
More by this authorEllis Stephenson
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