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Frontline police issued new ballistic vests and thigh holsters

11th September 2012

Ministerial media release

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher has today joined Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas to announce the rollout of new thigh holsters and ballistic vests for officers across NSW.

"Frontline police are being issued new equipment designed specifically to reduce and prevent injury as part of the NSW Police Force's ongoing commitment to officer safety.

More than 13,000 D-Ring Thigh Holsters (DRTH) and 3,500 AV20 Craig International tactical vests will be issued to frontline officers across the state to address operational safety issues.

Minister Gallacher said the NSW Government continues to support police to ensure that the most appropriate equipment is made available to officers to perform their duties safely.

"This is about ensuring police have the best and the most advanced equipment at their disposal so they can get on with doing their job," Minister Gallacher said.

"We want to ensure that our frontline officers are wearing the best gear to assist them to not only carryout their duties but also to prevent injury and exhaustion.

"We encourage police to research and develop equipment and skills training that will prevent and reduce injury, and we will work with them to ensure the best products are made available to officers, so they can perform their duties and protect the community effectively," Minister Gallacher said.

The DRTH was designed and developed by the Operational Safety and Skills Command, and is intended to address current injuries, prevent future injuries, and make police equipment more comfortable to wear.

"The thigh holster offers an alternative to officers with injuries attributed to the standard pistol holder or appointments belt and has proven to assist in returning them to operational duties," Minister Gallacher said.

"We have always maintained that we want to get injured police back to work in frontline duties as quickly as possible and it's great to see this equipment will assist them to do that," Minister Gallacher said.

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas said there have been concerns surrounding the weight and bulk of the appointments belt and the associated effects on officers.

"We have been working to develop and introduce new equipment that tackle these issues, including the load bearing vest (LBV), however, we are always striving to provide the best options to our staff," Deputy Commissioner Kaldas said.

"Officers from across the state assisted in the trials, and their feedback led to a design that meets the needs of officers with a variety of concerns.

"Many officers involved in the trial had existing injuries, while some were injury-free, but all provided valuable feedback to the development team, allowing for adjustment to the design.

"Most of the injured officers believe the holster has had a positive impact on their injury, while those not carrying an injury believe the holster is more comfortable for general use.

"This holster was overwhelmingly the most preferred option as it allows the firearm to sit high on the thigh, providing a more natural drawing position, comfortable posture when sitting in a vehicle and allows more movement for running," Deputy Commissioner Kaldas said.

The new ballistic vests provide protection against high velocity round strikes and meets the current National Institute of Justice standard, which includes rigorous testing that subjects the armour to extremes anticipated in operational environments.

The vest is tested for durability and ballistic integrity when subjected to heat, moisture and mechanical wear simulations.

The design also includes a utility pocket to enable the officer to carry items they would normally wear on their LBV, including a portable radio, mobile phone or a Taser.

Frontline police issued new ballistic vests and thigh holsters (PDF 78KB)
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