Can stab resistant vests improve the personal safety of council employees?
Published by Robert Kaiser for PPSS Ltd in Local Government and also in Communities, Housing
PPSS Covert Stab Resistant Vests
Preventing the abuse and attacks on public sector workers and subsequent injuries is now a priority issue for many governments.
Are you aware of the fact that work-related violence is a contributing factor to stress and absenteeism among staff costing UK employers £700 million annually?
Do I think that concealable and lightweight stab resistant vests should be a part of this ‘priority’? Yes there is no question about it!
I say it because I genuinely and simply care about human life!
Based on many years of operational frontline experience, we think, we believe and we know that a person who is either intoxicated, simply has a serious dislike for the organisation you represent or aggressively disagrees with any decision you are about to make can overreact to anything you say or do.
A lightweight covert stab vest will protect you in such case from any impulsive physical assault such person might commit (and possibly deeply regret the following day for the rest of his/her life).
Truly outrageous physical attacks on parking/traffic wardens, licensing enforcement, housing, community safety, anti social behavior and trading standards teams, have been revealed in data released by local authorities across the UK and many other countries.
However, based on the very latest figures obtained, we also have to confirm that 437 addresses in Scotland alone have been ‘red flagged‘ due to serious negative experiences of ambulance professionals, which include serious physical assaults and threat using edged weapons and a variety of blunt objects e.g. hammers, rocks and iron bars.
Recent statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act also reveal incidents of council staff in the UK being punched, bitten, head-butted, attacked with pool cues and even suffering sexual abuse. Many of these attacks have resulted in injuries bad enough for the worker to require hospital treatment and often surgery. The media is full of reports covering these incidents.
Headlines in 2012 read:
- Traffic warden attacked by driver
- Council staff hit with pool cues, punched in the face and sexually assaulted in the line of duty
- 400 no-go areas for ambulance staff
- Council worker assaulted in night time attack
We must admit these statistics and news of incidents are a stark reminder of the dangers faced by many public sector workers as they go about their work – often on relatively low levels of pay.
We will hopefully also agree that all of our public servants should feel safe to carry out their important work without the threat of physical and verbal abuse.
It’s important to stress that some reported incidents, especially those involving care staff, are related to the medical conditions of people receiving a service… but nevertheless protection for these frontline professionals is something that needs looking at. ‘Protection’ should/could include effective conflict management training, lone worker safety devices (tracking & alarm systems), radio communication and covert or overt stab vests.
Who’s at risk?
- Environmental Officers – Enforcing regulations and to police the systems places officers at risk from violence as well as accidents at work.
- Trading Standard Officers – Visiting car boot sales and assisting police during raids can be a high risk job at times.
- Licensing Enforcement Officers – Visiting nightclubs, taxi ranks, take aways and other late night venue puts them in contact with intoxicate and sometimes hostile members of the public.
- Housing Officers – Verbal and physical attacks from tenants, when discussing issues such as ‘rent areas’
- Probation Officers – At a high risk of violence due to the nature of this work.
- Social Workers – Staff are often required to work at all hours, including late at night often in deprived areas increasing risk of violence.
- Specialist Teaching staff – Dealing with behavioural problems and special needs, severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour can represent realistic dangers.
- Traffic Wardens – At a high risk of verbal and physical attack from angry drivers.
- Community Care Workers – Working with vulnerable groups in disadvantaged areas increases risk of violence.
UK based PPSS Group is dedicated to designing, developing and manufacturing of high performance bullet proof vests, stab resistant vests and cut resistant clothing, in order to protect these domestic frontline professionals.
To make it very clear, I am of course not saying everyone working for a local council or ambulance service is at risk of getting stabbed or brutally assaulted… of course not. This is of course depending on a number of factors e.g. are you working alone, time of work, location of work, and job responsibilities. However I feel strongly that these great professionals have the right to be equipped appropriately and that they deserve the very best care and equipment.
Our Head of Consultancy Simon Wilson would be delighted to hear from you in case you wish to discuss this subject any further.