Being in the position of ‘power’ and having the responsibility to source, evaluate and ultimately purchase body armour can indeed be a daunting job. Your decisions will most likely have a significant impact on the safety of your frontline staff, and I can only imagine you really do not want to get this one wrong.
The convenience of relying on Google research must be tempting. You may feel that your local police officer must know his stuff and hence you may feel he is the right man to ask a few questions. But let me stop you there right there. In all the 100+ meetings I have attended, advising Security Directors, Heads of Security or Security Managers of healthcare facilities, universities, major public buildings, public transport firms and enormous shopping centres, I always stated the same: I would not ever tell a paramedic how to save someone’s life following a major road traffic collision, I wouldn’t tell an experience firefighter how to stop a wildfire, and I would neither dare to tell a police officer how to effectively enforce the law. For exactly the same reasons no one else, but a true body armour expert, should advise you of the performance and design and manufacturing advancements of body armour.
I have done this precise job for 12 years; travelling the world and clocking up some serious air miles in the process. I have meet with Government Agencies and senior officials, as well as major private security firms all over the world.
Over the past few years, my firm’s Technical Director Colin Mackinnon has also been meeting with our national and international clients. Following a 27-year long career in law enforcement (counter terror, firearms units, surveillance etc) he clearly has a superb understanding of today’s real operational risks and threats.
When discussing this subject matter, Colin said:
“When I meet with our customers, we usually seem to build a relationship of trust up, through discussing experiences that both the client has gone through and my own operational experiences while serving in the Police. Common ground and mutual respect are strong bonds in understanding that the product that PPSS Group have developed are not only technologically sound but are based on actual operational experience and dealing with the very same risks and threats they face. I personally demonstrate the equipment on myself in front of the client which shows my confidence in the product and I strongly encourage the client to also take a blow from a baseball bat or a knife, developing their own confidence in a product which works. There is no substitute for feeling the weight, fit, and performance of our products before committing to buy them. This is something that cannot be done via an email or telephone call.”
I recently wrote an article on the importance of certified spike protection when searching for the right body armour. I had included our video, featuring Colin beating me with a baseball bat and several types of edged weapons. One reader commented and questioned why such physical demo is necessary and why the official certification cannot be deemed as ‘good enough’. My answer was quite straight forward:
“A physical demo of the body armour’s performance is essential, as it is crucial for the wearer to develop that vital level of trust in the body armour. It will give you such peace of mind 100% knowing that it will do the job, that you can rely on it and that it will really protect you from the specific threat you face. It will also help you to understand what physical sensations such attack will result in (e.g. level of pain, discomfort, dizziness, breathing difficulties etc.)"
Also, and this is indeed of great importance, it will allow you to look at the eyes of the body armour company’s representative and ask clear and precise questions, e.g.: “Is your body armour CAST (or NIJ or VPAM) certified for knife protection as well as spike protection and impact protection?” I would personally urge you to follow this question up with another one important question: “Can I please see a copy of the certification?” It is truly shocking to see how many body armour manufacturers are still successfully blagging their way through their sales pitches.
A personal meeting with true body armour consultant allows you to raise any concerns your frontline staff might have. They will want to know why they are suddenly required to wear body armour. “Does my boss know something he/she is not willing to share with me?”. “Is he/she planning to change my job role, or will I be required to take on more risky duties?”
We are here to help you find the right answers.
We are here to ensure the decisions you are about to make are based on physical facts, not based on hearsay or what someone with a reasonable, yet insufficient level will have advised you to do.
Please get in touch with my colleague Damon Parsons. Damon and Colin are more than happy to arrange a face-to-face meeting, or simply schedule a video call to assist you during the ongoing crisis: firstname.lastname@example.org