SPIT guards being used by the police out in public has been a major point of contention in recent weeks, with some critics having likened them to hoods used in Guantanamo Bay.

Some say they breach human rights guidelines and hark back to a more primitive time, while others worry about the health risks to those being made to wear them.

Now campaigners are raising the issue of potential psychological harm to children, with figures showing Met officers used them 33 times against under 18s last year.

And some reports suggest children as young as 10 have been subjected to them.

Of course, more research needs to be done on the impact this type of force has on children, but we also need to remember that no matter what age the offender, by spitting they are potentially putting officers at risk of harm.

These mesh masks are being requested by officers to protect them from exposure to infection like hepatitis, and, putting it into perspective locally, West Mercia used them only three times against youths last year, all aged 17.