Gardaí to use spit hoods on suspects to protect themselves from Covid-19
"A temporary measure for the duration of the Covid-19 public health situation."
Gardaí have confirmed they're to be equipped with 'spit hoods' for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
They're designed to be placed over the head of suspects to prevent them from spitting at others.
The move was announced due to concerns about members of the public being deliberately coughed at and in some cases, spat at.
On Thursday, An Garda Síochána said three investigations are underway into members of the emergency services being coughed or spat at while on duty in Dublin and Waterford.
People found engaging in the activity could be found guilty of an offence under the Public Order Act or Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.
"An Garda Síochána takes the safety of the public and the safety of its members very seriously and is engaging with the staff representative associations on a daily basis," a Garda spokesperson said.
"Garda management continuously considers various forms of additional PPE which could be deployed to operational Gardaí.
"'Spit Hoods' which are currently on issue to the Irish Prison Service, and other international Police services, are currently being procured.
"'Spit Hoods' will be deployed, as a temporary measure for the duration of the COVID-19 public health situation."
The Garda spokesperson confirmed that Gardaí would be trained and briefed on the extent of the deployment of the 'spit hoods' prior to any items being issued.