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Queensland Police Service Rolls Out High Tech Vests for Officer Safety

Next-generation integrated load-bearing vests will be rolled out to frontline police officers across Queensland this year in a major safety boost for the Queensland Police Service (QPS). Queensland’s Police Minister stated that the $24.4 million initiative will see officers protected with the combined ballistic and edged weapon safety features as part of their operational uniform for the first time in Queensland.

He noted that the officers put their life on the line whenever they respond to highly volatile and dangerous situations and they should be protected with the latest technology in officer safety equipment. The brand-new integrated load-bearing vest incorporates technological advancements in textiles and design to improve the safety and comfort of our frontline officers.

Currently, officers are required to wear an overt ballistic vest on top of a load-bearing vest to be protected from a firearm threat, whereas, the new integrated load-bearing vest can achieve this protection and be worn at all times while on duty.

The vests will not only allow them to safely carry their firearm, taser, baton, handcuffs, radio and body-worn camera while performing their duties but also, provide added protection against offenders who may be armed with knives or firearms.

The Police Commissioner stated that the 12,200 vests would be rolled out to frontline officers across the state from July following a successful trial. Extensive operational trials of the integrated load-bearing vests are being undertaken in differing climates and situations across the State including fit, form and function testing and that has informed the final design.

The rollout of integrated load-bearing vests was part of the State Government’s significant election commitment to directly enhance police resources and operations in Queensland. The investment in integrated load-bearing vests is one of a range of initiatives by the State Government to enhance resources, technology and operations for police.

The QPS is also rolling out 4,500 body-worn cameras, 5,000 Q-Lite devices, 250 new police patrol vehicles and high-tech cameras and drones to crack down on hooning offences.

The Queensland Police Union President welcomed the next step in this process of giving police state-of-the-art vest technology having advocated for this equipment to be delivered to Queensland’s front-line police. The integrated load-bearing vests will be rolled out from July 2022. Queensland Police are using emerging technologies in many ways. For example, they are borrowing from gaming technology to revolutionise the way officers respond in high-pressure scenarios.

In an Australian-first training method, virtual reality headsets are being used in conjunction with specialist police negotiation techniques to disarm deadly conflicts.

The class of 2021 was the first batch of recruits to use the VR headsets for new training to immerse them fully in the training scenarios. The 360-degree perspective and point-of-view enable them to switch from police officer to perpetrator.

The training is part of a de-escalation technique borrowed from specialist police negotiators for heated real-life scenarios. The officers are taught how to use words instead of weapons. The new technique is so effective that the QPS is considering rolling out the technology in other scenarios.

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