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? and would body armour be a benefit as a standard part of security officer uniform in the UK?
What do Security Guards Wear?
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 a lot of 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 spending 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.
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 and security officers experiencing verbal abuse everytime 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, slashings or shootings, depending on the type of vest worn. The vests, however, will only cover the torso and offer no protection to other areas. This is where body armour comes in.
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 wether security guards wearing body armour is appropriate for your needs.
Do Security Guards Wear Bulletproof Vests?
It isn’t common for security guards to wear body armour, an exception to this however is a bodyuard.
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.
Ultimately, wearing protective vests or body armour is a decision that has to be made by security companies and security guards. It is important to weigh up the potential risk of attack when making a decision, as the proper protection could save lives.
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