QPS invests in high-tech vests to improve officer safety
Next-generation, integrated load-bearing vests will be provided to frontline police officers across Queensland this year, as part of a $24.4 million safety initiative for the Queensland Police Service (QPS). The initiative will see officers protected with the combined ballistic and edged weapon safety features as part of their operational uniform for the first time in Queensland.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said the integrated load-bearing vest incorporates technological advancements in textiles and design to improve safety and comfort for frontline officers. “Currently, officers must wear an overt ballistic vest on top of a load-bearing vest to be protected from a firearm threat, whereas the new integrated load-bearing vest can achieve this protection and be worn at all times while on duty. The vests will not only allow them to safely carry their firearm, taser, baton, handcuffs, radio and body-worn camera while performing their duties, but also provide added protection against offenders who may be armed with knives or firearms,” said Minister Ryan.
Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the 12,200 vests would be rolled out to frontline officers across the state from July following a successful trial. Commissioner Carroll added that integrated load-bearing vests will also undergo extensive operational trials in differing climates and situations across the state, along with fit, form and function testing, to inform the final design. “Keeping our officers safe as they go about their duties is paramount. I’m very pleased we will see each frontline officer issued with their individual integrated load-bearing vest to improve their safety as they continue protecting our communities,” she said.
Minister Ryan added that the rollout of integrated load-bearing vests is part of the state government’s election commitment to enhance police resources and operations in Queensland, noting that the investment in integrated load-bearing vests is one of a range of initiatives by the government to enhance resources, technology and operations for police. “Our officers put their life on the line whenever they respond to highly volatile and dangerous situations and they should be protected with the latest technology in officer safety equipment. The QPS is also rolling out 4500 body-worn cameras, 5000 Q-Lite devices, 250 new police patrol vehicles, and high-tech cameras and drones to crack down on hooning offences,” said Minister Ryan.
Queensland Police Union President Ian Leavers said he welcomed the next step in this process of giving police state-of-the-art vest technology. “I have advocated long and hard for this equipment to be delivered to our frontline police. I’ve been intimately involved from the outset to ensure police get the best possible outcome from this investment in our frontline officers. The safety of our frontline officers is an absolute priority and I congratulate the government for investing in this critical safety equipment,” said Leavers.
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