Police are taking every precaution to keep themselves safe but having the right protection on at the right time is not always practical, the police association says.
The Ministry of Health's personal protection equipment (PPE) requirements for non-health essential workers are that police, firefighters in first responder roles, prison staff and court staff need to wear a mask if they are not able to maintain physical distancing.
Gloves and eye protection are required if they have physical contact with a person and are at risk of contact with body fluids.
This has raised concerns for frontline officers due to the unpredictable nature of the people they deal with on a daily basis.
This week three police officers were allegedly spat on while arresting a 30-year-old man in Auckland.
The man told officers he had Covid-19 so the officers were placed in isolation as a precaution and two police vehicles were taken out of use for decontamination.
Bay of Plenty frontline police, like those in all regions, received a personal pandemic pack including a range of PPE such as splash goggles, surgical and respirator masks, sanitisers, gloves, wipes, and other cleaning agents.
Items in the pack are replenished as they are used.
Rotorua police area commander Inspector Phil Taikato said staff treated each contact with members of the community with the necessary caution and, when able, ensured they were properly covered with PPE for the appropriate situations.
"Unfortunately the unpredictable nature of some people we deal with won't allow this."
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On-the-spot judgments and decision making were required in delicate and high-risk situations, he said.
"Staff in Bay of Plenty, like our staff right across the country are assessing each situation on a case-by-case basis and where necessary wearing appropriate PPE."
District manager Inspector Phil Gillbanks said frontline police were taking each situation on a case-by-case basis.
"The first barrier of defence is ensuring that the 2m social distance protocol is adhered to. Wherever possible, police will endeavour to engage with all persons like this."
Where a situation dictates this may not be possible or appropriate police staff will wear the appropriate PPE.
"The wearing of the PPE equipment is not a barrier that complicates attendance at incidents, good communication is still the number one strength that we rely upon to resolve incidents," Gillbanks said.
Frontline staff assess risks based on communications and what is in front of them.
Work stations, vehicles and equipment are sterilised regularly and staff at the station maintain social distancing.
New Zealand Police Association president Chris Cahill said there were concerns around the practicality of wearing PPE gear constantly.
"It won't always be possible for officers dealing with offenders to first put on their PPE."
The association would continue to ensure police restock gear as and where necessary, Cahill said.
"It is so critical to officer safety that they are properly equipped for their work on the frontlines.
"In policing you don't always know what to expect."
He said working during a pandemic added to the complexity of the work.
On Tuesday, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said PPE would be made available to frontline workers who wanted it, even if official guidelines said PPE was unnecessary.
"I'm also conscious our frontline workers not only need to be safe, they need to feel safe."
He said the ministry advice was from infectious diseases specialists and designed for workers to know what PPE to wear in different situations.
Fire and Emergency frontline staff, both volunteer and career, are also given protective clothing, safety glasses and masks.
National commander Kerry Gregory said firefighters would wear masks and gloves at incidents to protect themselves and the community and ensure they could continue to do their jobs.
Fire stations have been restricted to only critical staff and will continue to respond to emergencies.
"Maintaining adequate staffing is a priority for us and we have plans in place to ensure we can respond across New Zealand during this pandemic."