A spit hood, spit mask, mesh hood or spit guards is a restraint device aiming to prevent someone to spit at, or bite, someone or something.
Proponents, often including police unions and associations, say the spit hoods can help protect personnel from exposure to risk of serious infection like hepatitis and that in London, 59% of injecting drug users test positive for Hepatitis C.
The spit hoods have been criticised for breaching human rights guidelines and critics call the hoods primitive, cruel and degrading. Some British police chiefs privately expressed concerns that the hoods are reminiscent of hoods used at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. A decision by the Metropolitan Police Service in London to start using spit hoods was condemned by the human rights group Amnesty International, the civil rights group Liberty and the campaign group Inquest. Many major British police forces have chosen to outlaw spit hoods.
Spit hoods can be life threatening when someone is pushed to the ground. Half of those dying when restrained die from lack of oxygen, and any obstacle to breathing should be avoided.