With a record 50,000 female officers serving in the 43 forces in England and Wales, police armour has been re-designed to be lighter, more flexible and provide not only male but also female versions that fit the contours of a woman’s upper body.
To select the winning company, Cooneen Protection, 29 officers – 15 male and 14 female – from different squads spent five days testing the armour in the field. This ranged from jumping over fences, running up and down stairs and driving police cars to deploying tasers and carrying out CPR resuscitation.
It is the third generation of police body armour even though it is the first with separate male and female versions. “It’s just more contoured and more shapely. Why we didn’t do it years ago, I do not know,” said Ms Goodwin.
It comes after a 74-year-old man was charged with the murder of a female police officer in 2005 after being extradited from Pakistan.