11 Oct 2020

New police body armour could take longer after Covid-19 impact on supply chains

12:31 pm on 11 October 2020

The police's rollout of new body armour may be held up by the Covid pandemic.

New police armour.

The new police armour. (File photo). Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

Police are getting lighter, better-fitting body armour under a $20 million deal they tried to speed up last year by injecting an extra $4.6m.

The aim was to reduce the three-year rollout schedule, police told RNZ in a statement.

"Unfortunately the impact of Covid-19 on global supply chains may mean that any acceleration could be impacted."

Police documents released under the OIA about the Christchurch mosque shootings show 11 reports by officers of injuries caused by the old, heavier body armour.

"Health and Safety Advisors also noted that long periods of standing at cordons was a key issue," the documents said.

It had "anticipated injuries will increase".

"Police recognise that the prolonged use of body armour" during the mosque response "was not the typical pattern of body armour use".

"Police have produced and promoted a wellness guide for staff regarding safe use of the new body armour system."

The new armour will be custom fitted.

The terror attacks had also triggered an extra review of firearms, tasers and radios supply, on top of regular reviews done "with the aim of purchasing more to distribute across the policing districts".

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