Significant improvements to the current standard issue police body armour have been advanced by the new 3rd generation body armour tender process.
From a total of nine, the two successful tenders were announced and awarded contracts under the National Uniform Managed Service (NUMS).
The contracts went to Cooneen Protection and Safariland UK after DHL commenced the tender process in 2020.
In order to ensure the body armour adhered to Home Office Body Armour Standards for UK Police, thorough testing process involving female and male officer trails of performance under varying conditions was conducted. Based on the results and feedback, product development was finalised for the most significantly improved body armour available to forces in England and Wales.
Whilst increased knife protection (Supplementary Knife Resistance, SKR), is expected with any new development, and the 3rd generation body armour delivers on this, there are other noteworthy improvements in other areas too.
The Cooneen armour has not only increased the resistance of the body armour to assault from sharp-edged instruments, but also significantly increased protection of the total body area by between 10 to 27 per cent. This means officers can have even more confidence in their kit when faced with challenging situations.
The new armour is also lighter in weight reducing the muscular and skeletal stress for the wearer.
Perhaps, though, the most prominent development is the ability to offer the body armour in both male and female shaped variants. This makes the 3rd generation body armour fit for all officers.
The 2017 body armour, which is currently offered by most forces, was not dissimilar to the 2006 standard issue body armour and lacked this gender specific variation. Now, for the first time in 17 years of standard issue body armour, female police officers can feel as protected and comfortable as their male colleagues.
Read why National Board member and Health and Safety lead, Mark Andrews, believes current health and safety regulations mean all chief officers are obliged by law to invest in the new 3rd generation body armour.