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Police Get Protective Vests To Cut Stabbings

Police in Coventry are to be issued with protective vests as a matter of course after almost 1,000 officers were assaulted with knives or other weapons.

The decision to give each officer in the West Midlands their own vest follows scathing criticism from the police federation about the safety of officers.

Representatives blame restructuring for leaving frontline officers exposed to dangers as there are times when there are not enough colleagues available to support them.

Last year 935 officers were assaulted in incidents involving a knife or other weapons.

An internal risk management study found that while the chances of being stabbed while on normal street patrol were very slight, this risk increased when dealing with domestic incidents.

Supt Neil Gould, a member of the working group which looked at the issue, said:

“Although the evidence shows the actual risk of being attacked with a knife or other weapon is very small, the potential risk has to be minimised.

“The decision was based solely on the risk assessment, which looked at the possibility of officers being subject to an indiscriminate attack by someone armed with a knife or other sharp weapon.

“Although the evidence shows they are actually at very little risk of being attack in this way, the fact there is still a risk means we have a duty to minimise it.”

Officers have had access to vests, but they are currently not available on a personal basis. This is being changed to make sure they are correctly fitting and are fully effective.

In future officers dealing with domestic incidents will be required to wear a vest if they have been issued with one.

The first vests will start being given out in two months’ time.
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CWN / Crimes, Fires & Accidents / West Midlands Police / 30 Nov 00

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