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Stabvests: what you need to know

Further to our post last week, what is body armour?, we wanted to talk about the most widely used type of body armour in the UK – stab vests. Stab vests protect the vital inner organs from knives and sharp/edged weapons.

stabvestsIn the UK, the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) is responsible for setting the standards for stab protection. Knife Resistance Level 1, known as “KR1”, and Spike Resistance Level 1, known as “SP1” is the stab protection recommended by the HOSDB for general police duties. Knife Resistance Level 2 (“KR2”) & Spike Resistance Level 2 (“SP2) is the stab protection recommended by the HOSDB for more dangerous police duties, such as armed patrol in higher risk situations such as escorting prisoners and airport patrols.

stabvest: the facts

The “Spike” bit of “Spike Resistance” refers to spiked implements like screwdrivers, chisels etc. It’s important to note that unless a stab vest is certified to SP1 or SP2, it may not protect adequately from spikes. Spikes are a growing threat due to the ease of obtaining improvised weapons (more on this in future posts).

More importantly, however, please note that it isn’t illegal to sell stabvests that aren’t certified by the Home Office – these are widely available. The onus is on the employer to ensure their staff are adequately protected. In our experience, local authorities, blue chip companies and all organisations that wish to properly protect their staff and fulfill their duty of care insist on Home Office certified stab vests.

As well as knives and spikes, which are covered by the Home Office standards, there are other threats your staff may be exposed to which aren’t covered by a governing body. There is no Home Office standard for syringe protection or for blunt trauma (body blows) protection, but these are very significant threats. We’ll be looking at these threats in more detail in future posts.

Why not post a comment (or email or call us) with your thoughts on this very important topic?

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