A new trial testing the suitability of seven types of multi-purpose load bearing vests, which provide both ballistic and sharp-edged weapon protection, will launch this month.
The 105-vest trial has been funded by the Marshall Government and fulfils another election promise regarding commitments to officer safety.
Minister for Police, Correctional Services and Emergency Services Corey Wingard said SAPOL and the State Government would now monitor the results of the trial and listen to feedback from the officers that wear them.
“Our police face the potential of confronting armed offenders on a regular basis, so they deserve the best possible protection from harm,” Minister Wingard said.
“The officers we ask to wear the vests are the best source of information as to whether vests are practical in the South Australian policing environment and, if so, which style of the new high-tech vests are most appropriate.”
The trial will inform the operational suitability of the vests, including comfort, provision of necessary protection and performance under different weather conditions.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said: ‘We have not rushed into just purchasing an off-the-shelf one-size-fits-all protective vest.
“We have taken this very seriously focusing on identifying the best vest for our frontline operational personnel.
“The trial is the next step in our formal procurement process, and I look forward to seeing the comments and hearing the feedback from those operational officers from across the state who are participating in the trial.”
SAPOL have identified the locations where the vests will be trialled, and these range from the metropolitan area to the regions and remote areas of the state.
The trial comes after the Marshall Liberal Government committed $52 million towards a myriad of state-wide security measures in this year’s Budget.
This includes $16.5 million to upgrade SAPOL’S Communication Centre in the CBD and $9.4 million for a new elite counter-terrorism Rapid Response Capability team.