Do Security Guards Wear Body Armour?

Written by Holly Savage

28th April 2021

The role of a security guard is to protect people and businesses and to do this, they need to be prepared for any situation. In recent years, violence against security guards has frequently hit the headlines, so this raises the question – do security guards wear body armour?

We’ll be discussing this and more, whether is it illegal to wear body armour in the UK, what body armour is made of, and if bodyguards also wear bulletproof vests.

security stab vest

What Is Body Armour?

Body armour is a popular piece of protective clothing used by many job sectors, such as the police and the army. And body armour is often used as an extra layer of protection, and to stop physical attacks from others. There are many different types of body armour such as:


  • Security Bulletproof Vests.
  • Stab Proof Vests.
  • Plate Armour.

What Is Body Armour Made Of?

A common question asked about security body armour is what it is made out of. And well, each different type of body armour will be made out of different materials. Body armour that consists of plate armour will typically be made out of metal and steel materials. While bulletproof and security stab proof vests will typically be made out of woven fabrics like Kevlar and Aramid.

body amour vest

Is It Illegal To Wear Body Armour In The UK?

In the UK, it isn’t illegal to buy or wear body armour. And in fact, it is even possible for people or guards to wear body armour in public.

Does Body Armour Work?

In recent years, security bullet proof vests and body armour have become increasingly popular, and many people such as the police use them throughout their every shift. So, it causes many people to wonder whether body armour truly works.

And yes, body armour has been known to work quite well and is considered an advantage in security as it has often saved lives. However, although body armour does work it doesn’t always provide ultimate protection as it can’t be 100% bulletproof or stabproof. So, it is possible for people to get still injured whilst wearing body armour.

bullet proof vest for security guards

What Do Security Guards Wear?

Before we begin discussing whether guards wear security body armour and bulletproof vest, let’s first quickly clarify what a guard wears. Security guards’ clothing can differ depending on the environment that they are working in. If the security guard is working in a shop or reception of an office, for example, their clothing may be smarter than those guards working on a construction site.

Most security guards wear a shirt or polo shirt and plain trousers as a base layer, covered with a jumper to keep warm, or a suit jacket if working in a professional environment.  Comfortable shoes are a must as many security guards spend much time on their feet. They should also be waterproof with a good grip on them to stop the wearer from slipping.

If in a factory, warehouse, or construction site, as well as being comfortable shoes should be safety shoes or booths that protect the feet – composite toe caps are often better than steel toe caps as these are less likely to cause harm to others. Protective headwear such as helmets may also be worn in a construction environment as per health and safety guidelines.

Security guards spend all of their time outside and in the dark also wear warm waterproof jackets as well as other waterproof options such as over trousers. For dark environments, a hi-vis jacket will help increase the person’s visibility, and a hat can give extra warmth.

Many security companies provide their staff with branded clothing so that business owners, customers and potential criminals can identify them as security staff which can be helpful if an incident does occur. Branding clothing with the company name also gives the company a more professional look.

Can Security Guards Wear Body Armour?

Yes, it is possible for security officers to wear protective clothing such as body armour. But it will often depend on many factors such as the type of job a guard is working in, whether a security guard wants to wear body armour, and the wishes of the security company that has hired the guard.

security body armour

Do Security Guards Wear Body Armour?

Some security guards do wear body armour in certain situations, but this generally depends on the level of threat that they are experiencing. Body armour can cover the torso, but there are also some body armours that can cover a larger area of the body, giving you further protection.

If security guards are likely to experience attacks by bladed weapons such as knives or ballistic threats such as guns, body armour may be appropriate. However, body armour is an expensive investment that requires the initial purchase of the armour itself, with staff also having to be trained on how to use the armour. Additionally, staff also have to maintain the armour to ensure that it continues to be effective. Wearing body armour can act as a physical deterrent if it is visible and may make security staff feel more protected.

Should Security Guards Wear Body Armour?

In their report on body armour for security officers, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure suggests that managers of security guards should “discuss the likely threats and risks to their staff with their local police force” to determine whether body armour is needed.

It is also important to take into account the role that a security guard has – if they are patrolling and their body is likely to be exposed, or if they are in an office or vehicle, as this will increase or decrease their risk of harm.

It’s important to analyse your situation and environment before deciding whether security guards wearing body armour is appropriate for your needs.

security guard bullet proof vest

Do Security Guards Wear Protective Vests?

In recent years, the number of security guards attacked with weapons has concerningly increased. With 51% of security guards experiencing verbal abuse every time they work, and 36% claiming they’re attacked once a month, security officers are consistently putting their lives at risk while on the job.

Protective or stab/bulletproof vests offer some security and can be worn both under and over their clothing. Some security guards choose to wear protective vests, while some choose to go without, as vests can be heavy and uncomfortable to wear.

Should Security Guards Wear Protective Vests?

Wearing a protective vest is entirely up to the guard’s wishes or the security company that they work for. Vests can effectively protect a security guard from stabbings or shootings. However, most vests will only cover the torso and offer no protection to other areas. This is where body armour comes in.

bulletproof vest uk

Do Bodyguards Wear Bulletproof Vests?

As well as security guards, bodyguards are another security worker who may have to consider wearing bulletproof vests. A bodyguard’s primary role is to keep the person that they are protecting safe and to do this job correctly, they need to be in a fit state to do so and not injured. If they believe that the person they are protecting is under a serious threat of attack, some bodyguards may choose to wear bulletproof vests to keep themselves safe.

Bulletproof vests and body armour, however, are extremely heavy and can slow a bodyguard down. Therefore, if a bodyguard does not think they are likely to get shot, they may choose to wear a lighter protective vest instead.

Is It Illegal To Walk Around With A Bulletproof Vest On?

In the UK, it isn’t illegal for anyone to wear or walk around in a security guard bullet proof vest. However, most guards and bodyguards won’t always wear their bulletproof vests and instead, they will only wear them if they are truly needed.

body armor security

So, Do Security Guards Wear Body Armour?

Ultimately, yes security guards can wear body armour as proper protection does save lives. However, whether a guard wears protective vests or body armour is a decision that has to be made by security companies and guards. When guards and security companies are making this decision, it is important that they weigh up the chances of a potential risk of attack happening and how the body armour will protect them.

If you would like to stay updated with the latest security guard news, why not check out our blog? Where you can find articles about what guards are allowed to carry and what equipment security officers use.

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