Better personal protection has front line SAPOL officers covered back-to-front

Thursday 12 August, 2021

Custom state-of-the-art body armour designed with the latest lightweight technology is protecting SAPOL officers on the beat as the Marshall Liberal Government’s enhanced personal safety rollout continues across South Australia.

Almost 3,000 Multi-Purpose Load Bearing Vests (MPLBV) are being delivered to SAPOL, with hundreds of front line officers already protected by the advanced armour.

At Henley Beach Police Station on Thursday, Minister for Police Vincent Tarzia spoke with officers and inspected their new kit alongside Assistant Commissioner Linda Fellows and Member for Colton Matt Cowdrey.

Minister Tarzia said the safety of officers posted to police stations at Henley Beach, Parks, Port Adelaide, Mount Barker, Victor Harbor, and some regional sites, is already boosted.

“The safety and security of front line SAPOL officers is being beefed-up with state-of-the-art body armour that offers innovative protection in high-risk situations,” Minister Tarzia said.

“SAPOL officers have never had this layer of back-to-front protection on the beat.

“Each officer was individually measured and fitted so every piece of armour is tailored to offer individuals the best protection possible from knife and firearm attacks, and those who use violence.

“The Marshall Government is committed to keeping front line personnel safe and our $8.5 million investment in this new armour is another way we’re supporting those who risk their personal safety for us.”

Highly renowned Australian supplier Aquaterro (Advanced Product Supplies) is delivering the 2,983 vests. Completion of the rollout is expected this financial year with hopes COVID-19 won’t affect the timeline.

The Safariland LN0245 model – one of six options considered – was selected after overwhelming support during an extensive trial period conducted by SAPOL in late 2019. The trial investigated protection, comfort and performance of the vests under different weather conditions across metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia.

The Safariland LN0245 replaces SAPOL’s Overt Body Armour.

Funding for the vests – which includes provisions for lockers and storage – was part of the Marshall Government’s $93.2m in additional funding for SAPOL announced in the State Budget 2020/21.

Aquaterro CEO and founder, Graeme Bulte said: “We are very proud to be supporting South Australia Police with the very best body armour system technology.”

“Aquaterro is a 100% Australian-owned company, and our staff have been travelling the length and breadth of the state personally measuring officers for their new world’s-best protective equipment,” Mr Bulte said.

Since 2018, the Marshall Government has provided more than $270m in extra funding to SAPOL to keep South Australia safe and strong.

The rollout of vests follows another significant boost to police resources announced in June with an additional 114 Protective Security Officers (PSO) set to reinforce SAPOL’s successful COVID-19 response.

More than $23m – announced in the State Budget 2021/22 – is funding the resource supercharge.

SAPOL Assistant Commissioner Linda Fellows said: “The new vests will be worn when police officers, community constables and protective security officers are conducting operational duties and carrying an exposed firearm.

“They are lightweight and individually fitted to ensure the officers are protected. This will ensure the highest level of safety for all of our members,” Assistant Commissioner Fellows said.