Gladstone riot shield card

Gladstone riot shield

1974.328.4

On display

This vehicle takes its name from the inventor, Mr Robert Gladstone of Liverpool, who made several innovations in protecting the police from violent attack. In about 1914 he developed a steel hand-shield to ward off bricks and similar missiles, a fore-runner of the plastic shields used today to counter mob attacks. By 1929 he had developed this bullet proof shield to combat the increasing use of firearms in criminal activities. A rubber wheeled truck was fitted with an armoured steel shield and wheeled into position by two constables sheltering behind it. The armour was said to stop a bullet from a service revolver at five yards (4.75m), although this was not guaranteed by the manufacturer. Narrow eye-slits for vision were provided and an aperture for a revolver could be opened to allow the police to return fire. In service, a sledgehammer and crowbar were carried on the truck to break through barricaded doors. As the shield was rather top-heavy the upper part folded down for travel when not under fire.