More than a third of the police staff involved in the anti-mandate riots at Parliament have been referred to support services to help deal with the emotional toll of the experience.
Officers were knocked unconscious, tore tendons, and suffered dislocations in the wild melee of the protest, but the unseen mental hits are also widespread.
"Police are members of the public as well," said Wellington Area Commander Inspector Dean Silvester.
"Having to balance the challenges of working in an environment such as that with your everyday life, having that repeating every day, the same sort of thing, can take its toll," he said.
Information released under the Official Information Act show 35 staff were referred to psychologists, and more than 750 have been referred to wellness advisers as of the end of May.
"These numbers are not static, as staff can seek support at any time in relation to past events," the Official Information Act response said.
Wellness advisers provide support to police staff across the country and have a background in triage. They are registered social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and counsellors.
"The referrals to psychologists may be a mix of constabulary staff and police employees, and may be for a range of matters including debrief or psychological input to mitigate impact of trauma and/or cumulative experience including the protest."
The documents also reveal more about the physical injuries police suffered.
Five staff were hit by flying bricks – three in the head – and some officers lost consciousness in the fray.
Police staff suffered 154 injuries over the course of the protest, 47 of which required medical attention. The majority of the injuries happened on March 2.
Of the injured staff, nine had to go to hospital.
Summaries of the incidents leading to hospitalisations show officers were knocked out after being struck down by attackers, and some required head scans and stitches for their open wounds.
One officer was struck down from behind and sprayed with a substance, causing them to lose consciousness and suffer temporary blindness.
Another officer was attacked by a protester and tore their Achilles tendon, while another was thrown into a post, suffering a dislocated shoulder and tendon damage.
Another officer was taken to hospital with breathing issues after taking a concrete paver to the chest, being sprayed in the eyes and having something thrown at their face. They also inhaled smoke from the fires.
The documents also show the mammoth effort put into policing the protest, with more than 2000 staff deployed from around the country.
Between February 9 and March 13, 2309 staff were contributed to cover the protest, including staff from Wellington. Officers were typically deployed for three to seven days. They were also brought in from the police college in Porirua and the police national headquarters.
Tom Neser, clinical psychologist for Habit Health, said police would have already been experiencing the stress of reduced workforces and the impacts of Covid when the protest happened, so the mental toll would have carried even more weight.
"The nature and eventual scale of the protests were unpredictable," he said.
"The protests were off the back of mandates coming into full force, and this impacted many workforces across emergency services, defence and health, not just for frontline but in all support roles too, pushing those that were able to keep working in all sectors more than would otherwise have been expected. "
Silvester said there was now a feeling among police that everyone wanted to move on and get back to business as usual.
He was "incredibly thankful" for the work his staff did and "proud of the effort of everybody and the professionalism, empathy and resilience shown by our people to work through trying times.
"It's taken quite a toll on our people ... It was an unprecedented event and one which they will carry through for the rest of their careers."
A police operation brought the 23-day demonstration to an end in March, after anti-mandate protesters gridlocked central Wellington streets and constructed a tent occupation outside Parliament.
It came to a violent end after police moved in on protesters, and a fire was started on Parliament's lawn.
As well as the ongoing police investigation, the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) is investigating the policing of the anti-vaccine mandate protests.
Last week police released photos of 15 suspects from the riots, asking for the public's help identifying them. As of Monday afternoon, none the 15 had been arrested.