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Gwent Police Federation

Fed backs calls for body armour upgrade

8 June 2023

Gwent Police Federation has called for new third-generation body armour to be rolled out across the Force.

Branch chair Matthew Candy said the latest designs were lighter and more flexible to wear while adding layers of extra protection and for the first time were available in male and female variations.

He said: “There’s no doubt body armour has protected police officers and saved many lives since it became a mandatory part of our uniform in the mid-1990s.

“But the technology has moved on over the last three decades and we want to see an investment in the latest 3G equipment.

“Body  armour used to be heavy, uncomfortable and cumbersome and could cause quite serious back problems if it wasn’t fitted and used properly.

“New high standard materials and better designs have changed all that so it is now time to upgrade our equipment.”

Police Federation national wellbeing lead Belinda Goodwin has spent the past five years campaigning for the introduction of the 3G gender-specific body armour which moulds to the body shape and is lighter in weight but does not compromise on safety.

She said: “This is a very exciting time and I’m so proud to have been involved in this process.

“We’ve finally bought body armour into the 21st century and, as a female, I am particularly excited about this. I know this newly designed body armour will make such a difference to so many of our members, both male and female.

“Now, we just need forces to invest. They need to invest for both the mental and physical benefit of their members.”

Belinda said it was also important to raise awareness of good practices surrounding body armour, including the need for regular breaks throughout the day.

“Because of the ongoing pressures surrounding our officers and this ‘need’ to be ready to head out on a job immediately, some of them don’t take their body armour off,” she said.

“But it doesn’t work like that. Our bodies are not designed to wear something that heavy for such long periods of time. Education is key.”