BATHURST’S front-line police officers have been spotted wearing custom-made Load Bearing Vests (LBV) as part of a State Government roll out.
The state-of-the-art vests – similar to those used by police in the US and the UK – will provide NSW Police officers with an alternative to solely using the current leather belt, or the shapeshifter-gel belt.
A fully-laden leather police belt weighs about 5.3 kilograms, which can place a physical stress on officers and delay the return of injured officers to the streets.
The Load Bearing Vests are specially designed to carry capsicum spray, an expandable baton, handcuffs, a portable motorola radio and a Taser gun and cartridges.
Minister for Police Michael Daley said the NSW Government has invested $1.3 million to purchase almost 8000 Load Bearing Vests which have been designed in consultation with the NSW Police Force and its officers.
“Our police do a tough and sometimes unpredictable job – that is why we need to back them with the best equipment to suit their unique circumstances,” Mr Daley said.
“To make sure they can respond to any situation, it’s essential that they’re equipped with a range of tools such as firearms, Tasers and handcuffs.
“This is about ensuring our frontline police have the latest in crime fighting equipment while meeting their occupational health needs.
“These vests are designed to prevent injuries, get injured officers back to work and reduce injury costs.”
NSW Police Force weapons instructors began training with vests earlier this month, and the first round of training for frontline officers began on June 28.
The NSW Police Force has been trialling alternatives to the current police belt since early 2009.
The Load Bearing Vests will be worn in conjunction with a belt, which will continue to hold officers’ firearms.
Mr Daley said the vests will assist police as they face the hazards of their day to day work, and improve occupational health and safety for NSW officers.
“This is yet another example of the NSW Government providing operational police with state-of-the-art equipment and a safer work environment.