The SPF has been engaging extensively with the force on the issue of body armour including replacement of the current sets.
The standard armour currently supplied to officers should have a date of manufacture and a date of expiry on the plates. The plates themselves have a 10 year warranty but data received from the manufacturers and from our colleagues elsewhere in the UK shows that this armour can provide the required levels of protection for far longer than was originally envisaged. Examples have been cited of armour which is over 20 years’ old passing safety tests.
Police Scotland has indicated that it wishes to replace the current standard armour and the procurement process for this is ongoing. In the meantime Police Scotland has engaged with their suppliers and is testing samples of current armour to provide reassurance that it meets the required standards of protection.
Officers should continue to check their armour regularly and it should always be examined at annual OST requalification. If any of those checks reveal damage to any of the panels the armour should be returned to stores and the officer should be removed from frontline duties until a replacement set of armour can be issued.
Where body armour is more than 10 years old but the panels have not been damaged or compromised it can still be used safely. The officer should however contact stores and give them the batch number and date of manufacture. This will assist stores to identify examples of older armour which can be sent for testing.