No frontline response police officer leaves the station without it. Their SRBA vest is their mobile toolkit, their protection, their comms station… and a place to carry their notebook.
Since SRBA (stab-resistant body armour) was introduced in 2006, it has become the second skin of the constabulary and has served them well.
But, 13 years on, SRBA has had a facelift and been rebranded as BAS – body armour system.
The rollout of the enhanced vests was announced by Police last month, but don’t get overexcited – delivery to all staff is expected to take at least three years. The closest some staff will have got to the BAS this year is having seen Commissioner Mike Bush modelling one at a media presentation outlining the $20.7 million project.
Staff have to be measured for a small, medium or large size and, at the moment, only 14 people a day can be sized up by the supply company, Cooneen Protection. Up to 15,000 vests will be manufactured in Vietnam.
The vest is designed to distribute weight evenly to reduce strain on the body.
So far, vests have been issued in Waitemata and Auckland City, where there was considered to be the most need for replacements, and to recruits from Wing 325 who graduated in January.
Inside this issue of Police News we have full coverage of the 88th NZPA Annual Conference, including the five recipients of the 2023 Bravery Awards and ask 10 questions of new Region 3 (Waikato and Bay of Plenty) director Detective Sergeant Ash Clements.