Canadian Security Magazine

Body armour for retail security

By Joshua Nash   

Features Expert Advice Opinion

The major threats facing those working in retail security come from robberies. Protecting retail establishments means that security guards are the first and often only line of defense against people intent on stealing. Unlike robberies of other businesses like banks, airports or even warehouses, people that rob retail businesses are likely unprepared, possibly unstable, and most likely still armed. This means that the threat can be even higher, as accidental injuries and violence are more likely to occur. Working as retail security means being prepared for attacks is essential. This may mean regularly wearing body armour, which serves as a useful piece of equipment for a number of reasons.

The primary benefit of body armour is the protection it can offer against weapons like guns and knives. It is important however to note that protection may differ depending on the weapon it can protect against; bullet proof vests will not protect against edged weapons, and a stab proof vest will be required. Whilst firearms are most commonly associated with robberies, and are certainly very deadly weapons, edged weapons like knives or even broken bottles are far more accessible, and can be just as deadly.
Of course, it is not just robberies that a retail security guard will have to face, and general attacks, belligerent and unruly customers, and even those who lash out while inebriated may all be potential threats for a retail security guard. These could involve any type of weapon, and while injury caused may be intentional or accidental, the end result is the same. Even where a weapon is not used, a protective vest of some kind while protect against blunt trauma and brute force, making it a valuable piece of equipment for a security guard.

Most body armour is available in both covert and overt styles no matter the level and type of protection. Covert armour can be worn comfortably under a uniform, and may be the best choice for security guards who do not wish to advertise the fact they are wearing armour. Some feel that displaying body armour is an invitation for attack, and will paint the individual as target for violence. A covert vest will negate these concerns, as it can be worn discreetly under a uniform.

On the other hand, some feel that wearing body armour can act as a deterrent to potential attackers, and acts as a statement of authority that can also reassure the public. In this case, an overt vest is the right choice as it will sit comfortably over clothing and still remain lightweight and flexible. An overt vest has the benefit of being customisable with logos and insignia, and can be augmented with pockets for additional equipment and even quick release systems. However, the choice largely rests upon the individual security guard who must decide on armour that is appropriate for the situation.

Joshua Nash is ballistics expert for SafeGuard Armor.


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