What can you do with 20-year-old riot shields stuck in the back of a cupboard? Turn them into protective screens for the NHS!
Northamptonshire Police unearthed 50 of the 7ft Armadillo shields, including 30 ordered in nearly two decades ago.
Now they are on their way to county hospitals to be turned into plastic screens for reception and clinical areas.
Chief Firearms Instructor, Inspector Steve Freeman, said: “We bought the shields in 2002 for a specific operation, which didn’t go ahead. As we do not use full-length static shields for public order training, they were placed in storage.
“It wasn’t until we carried out the recent audit that we found the shields were no longer fit for purpose as public order equipment. But with clear plastic material in such high demand, we didn’t want to just throw them away.
“We are really pleased the shields are going to be recycled and turned into much-needed PPE to help protect not only our NHS colleagues but also some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
The shields were bought to provide police support to the prison service never needed as proposed industrial action did not take place!
But heavy-duty clear plastic is in such high demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic the offer was snapped up by bosses both Northampton General and Kettering General hospitals.
NGH Director of Estates and Facilities, Stuart Finn said: “This is a great example of how working together with our local partners can benefit our community.
“It’s also fantastic to be able to take items which were originally designed for a different kind of protection and repurpose it in a new way to protect patients and staff at the hospital.”
Kettering General Hospital’s Ian Allen added: “We have gratefully accepted 15 of the shields kindly offered to us by Northamptonshire Police and want to thank them very much for their thoughtful donation.
“We are modifying the shields as appropriate to help us to further improve the personal protection of our staff and patients – for example as screens in areas such as receptions.”