Police cars in Marlborough will be kitted out with barriers to help protect police officers from assault.
See-through barriers will be installed in police cars across the region as soon as possible.
The move is geared towards protecting officers from offenders who may lash out, kick or spit.
Blenheim police Sergeant Tamati Te Tua says police are targeted on a semi-regular basis when taking people back to the station.
It has happened to him, he says.
“[Barriers] are something that have been planned and researched for some time, and this is now the final product”.
“It will stop stray feet coming through, officers being grabbed and, potentially, spit coming through.
Each barrier costs around $500.
Trials using full perspex barriers were undertaken in Taranaki and Whanganui in 2017 but caused issues with visibility and interfered with the rear-view mirror.
The full barrier also made it difficult for tall police officers to adjust their seat position.
The final, approved polycarbonate barriers cover the narrow gap between the two front seats and are designed to prevent anyone slipping an arm or hand through.
“If it’s for the safety and protection of officers when driving, it’s got to be good,” Tamati says.
“It also offers extra protection if someone has to transport a prisoner and they’re the only one in the vehicle.”
Tamati, who joined the police in 2001, now looks after Blenheim’s 10-car police fleet.
He says as soon as the barriers are available to the fleet, they will be fitting them, but not every car will need them.
“It’s about officer protection and staff safety,” he says.