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Body Armour for Civilian Security Staff

A suite of documents intending to guide managers in the selection, procurement and management of appropriate body armour for their civilian security staff

Last Updated 02 February 2023


Security managers should consider whether there is a need to procure appropriate body armour for their staff to provide protection against attacks using knives and firearms.

The current standards for body armour have been developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's (Dstl) Centre for Applied Science and Technology (previously Home Office). Although they were primarily intended for use by police forces they are also appropriate for other users. Dstl maintains a list of accredited products which have been found to meet the standards when tested at approved facilities.

body armour

Guidance documents

The key points to be considered when selecting body armour are shown in the diagram. 

The characteristics of body armour are explained in more detail in the NPSA document Body Armour for Security Officers available below. This document provides background knowledge on body armour and guidance on its specification, procurement and maintenance.

body armour guidance

There are also five factsheets available which delve further into the effects of various threats and the testing undertaken to suggest the most appropriate body armour:

  • Firearms - an introduction to various types of firearms and ammunition
  • Injury Mechanisms - a look at injuries both with and without intervening body armour
  • Ballistic Injuries - an introduction to the two types of ballistic injuries
  • Body Armour Types - an introduction to different types of body armour
  • Test Procedures - background into testing various types of body armour
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