More than $8 million will be spent on strengthening the safety and security of South Australian police officers with the rollout of new personal issue multi-purpose load bearing vests that are resistant to attacks involving edged weapons and firearms.
The Marshall Liberal Government appreciates the hardworking men and women on the frontline who risk their safety to protect our community. The 2020-21 State Budget has committed $8.5m for multi-purpose load bearing vests to ensure officers are as safe as possible.
Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services Vincent Tarzia said frontline patrols will receive the enhanced safety kit with implementation to be staged over a two-year period.
The first 800 vests are projected to be delivered this financial year. Further allocation of kit – approximately 2200 vests – is expected in 2021/22. Funding also supports changes to lockers to secure the vests.
“These new vests are an advanced piece of equipment that will provide extra safety and security for our police officers during situations that involve armed offenders,” Minister Tarzia said.
“Officers deserve modern equipment to perform day-to-day duties. That’s why these vests have been tested on the frontline by SAPOL to ensure they meet the rigorous standards needed by operational personnel.
“The Marshall Liberal Government has created a safe and strong South Australia. The roll-out of this personal protective equipment is another step in consolidating the security of the community and safety of the officers who protect it.”
Delivering on its election promise, the Marshall Liberal Government prioritised officer safety and funded a three-month SAPOL trial that tested 105 vests of several varieties commencing in August 2019.
Having met SAPOL’s unique and specific requirements, the model chosen by the vest evaluation team was unanimously selected. The trial investigated protection, comfort and performance of the vests under different weather conditions across metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia.
“These vests have increased capability to withstand attacks from people with edged weapons or who may be in possession of firearms,” Minister Tarzia said.
“Thorough research and testing was necessary to ensure police officers feel safe in the line of duty. A one-size-fits-all approach was never going to be a solution that the Marshall Liberal Government would accept. We simply cannot put a price on safety.”
Ongoing funding will be provided for the management and replacement of vests.