Back to Basics: are you wearing your body armour for too long?


PUBLISHED 25 Jun 2021

IN News

Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom is urging members to go Back to Basics with their body armour for the sake of their long-term health.

Liz says wearing armour unnecessarily over long periods could cause health issues for officers.

Now she’s highlighting ways to prevent injury as part of the national Federation’s Back to Basics awareness campaign, which has been launched to coincide with World Wellbeing Week (21 to 30 June).

Liz said: “Our body armour can be life-saving kit, but we don’t want it to cause health issues further down the line. The human skeleton is not designed to carry that amount of weight for whole shifts over a long period of time. There’s the potential for it to cause significant health issues.

“Which is why we’re encouraging members to go back to basics and take off their body amour when it’s not needed, such as when they’re back in the car or at the station.”

The Federation’s Wellbeing Sub-Committee set up a working group to examine the issues and it found not only were there problems with the weight of the plates used, but also the weight of what officers carry such as mobile units and kit.

Steve Hartshorn, the PFEW National Board lead for operational oolicing, said: “The group established that officers from across England and Wales are being referred to treatment centres with back, shoulder and neck pain, which could be caused by wearing body armour.

“The centres have created specialist classes to teach core and strengthening exercises to protect members’ backs – something your Federation is welcoming.”

Writing in a blog for World Wellbeing Week, Steve added: “Over the next few months, we will be working with experts from Flint House, the Police Treatment Centres (Harrogate and Auchterarder) and the North-West Police Benevolent Fund to share ways to help ease the strain on your muscles and skeleton.

“They have some useful guides and videos that can help you build core strength and complement any existing training plans. We will also be working with forces to remind them of their responsibility to look after officers’ welfare and encourage good practice around body armour care, storage and checks after being damaged.”

Find out more about Back to Basics.