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Are you fully protecting your officers?

by Andy Clutton

Here PPSS Group CEO Robert Kaiser looks at the growing risk from spiked weapons and double-edged blades and how you can ensure that your security staff are fully protected

It is commonly known that stab resistant body armour is very different from bullet resistant body armour. However, it is not commonly known that spike protection cannot be guaranteed with either bullet or stab resistant body armour, and that weapons like ice picks, sharpened screw drivers, spiked clubs and strong hypodermic needles can indeed penetrate them if they are not offering specific, and more importantly certified protection from such threat.

Interestingly, the need for spike protection was identified by prison and corrections officers, who were at serious risk from injury from spiked weapons. It was due to those operational risks and threats faced by the officers, that in the mid-1980s the California Department of Corrections issued an urgent requirement for all stab resistant body armour to be tested against a commercial ice pick.

The test method attempted to simulate the dynamics and force used by an attacker using a spike, intending to cause maximum harm or death.

However, society has changed, and some will argue not for the better. We can clearly identify a global rise of knife crime, and we must accept those sometimes incredibly brutal attacks have become more frequent over the past ten years.

In addition, we can clearly see a change in the type of edged weapons now being used in organised crime and terrorism, many of which are double edged blades. These blades perform very similarly to a spike or ice pick, they have been specifically engineered to enter another person’s body using minimum effort, with little or no resistance.

Attacks using double edged blades like the ones below are becoming more and more frequent these days, partly because they are so easy to purchase here in the UK and most other countries. After a simple web search, you can find an array of some of the most dangerous types of edged weapons, and you can even benefit from a next day delivery service, with minimal vetting.

From the body armour technology point, these double edged ‘daggers’ and blades are exceptionally difficult to protect from. This is the moment when certified spike protection is crucial, as there is physical evidence that a body armour can withstand such threat!

I urge you to trust me here, certified protection from spiked weapons is essential for anyone operating within today’s law enforcement or private security.

Body armour and protection

When it comes to body armour, it really is extremely important to understand that they are very particular in the kind of threats they protect against. Stab resistant body armour without certified spike protection will be useless in the event of an attack using some of the truly horrific spiked weapons violently pointed at (or used) against our private security professionals and law enforcement officers today.

In my personal, as well as professional opinion, it is no longer justifiable and neither ‘morally appropriate’ to produce or supply body armour without certified spike protection. The fact of the matter is spiked weapons are being used by those who commit serious crimes, and those individuals will not refrain from brutally attacking a security professional or law enforcement officer, either to avoid arrest or identification.

Supplying or selling body armour without certified spike protection will without any question result in either serious injury or even death to frontline professionals at some point in the future.

I can only urge you to request to see an official certification highlighting clearly that the body armour you are about to purchase, wear or issue is offering certified spike protection and is subsequently fit for purpose. I urge you to ensure to seek confirmation that body armour is offering the level of protection unquestionably required by those men and women who you employ to protecting others, our venues, events, or infrastructure.

Failure to do so may well cause you a serious moral, legal, financial nightmare at some point in the future.

Watch a video of Robert Kaiser putting body armour to the test here

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