New body protection equipment: worn without or under the jacket of the turnout suit
New body armor for the NRW riot police
Minister Reul: A vest that can do anything and can take anything
Ministry of the Interior of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
Ministry of the Interior NRW

The approximately 2,600 officers of the North Rhine-Westphalian riot police will receive new body armor (KSA). Interior Minister Herbert Reul presented the new model on the banks of the parliament in Düsseldorf.

The new body armor consists of a vest as well as arm and leg protectors. The basic vest weighs 6.5 kilograms and is therefore 2.2 kilograms lighter than the previous vest combination. Interior Minister Reul: "2.2 kilograms may not sound like much, but stand in the sun for ten or twelve hours and you're still physically challenged. Every gram less is worth its weight in gold, and the new vest really is an incredible relief."

The new vest protects against stabs, blows and objects thrown at it and has integrated ballistic protection. The previous model, developed in 1998, only offered protection against punches and stabs. In order to be additionally protected against shots, police officers had to wear a ballistic protective vest underneath the impact/stab protection vest - this combination of two vests was heavy, too warm and offered little freedom of movement.

"Less protects more," said Interior Minister Reul on Thursday. "The new equipment is a significantly lighter 2-in-1 vest that provides better protection than the previous model - a vest that can do everything and can handle anything." Police officers can also attach a helmet, radio, tactical signs and a bodycam to the new vest. The new KSA is also easy to clean, flame-retardant and water-repellent. The KSA can be removed using quick-release fasteners. On hot days, the KSA can be ventilated to cool the body in calm operational situations.

The new body protection equipment was developed by a state working group under the leadership of the third riot police department and in cooperation with the Cologne Sports University. The university's broad-based study made scientifically sound statements on the weight load and temperature development during typical operations. For four weeks, the police officers put various models through their paces on an operational course. The vote of the riot police ultimately led to the procurement of the new KSA.

In total, the police are procuring 3,725 new models. This year, parts of the riot police will be equipped first, then in 2022, in addition to the riot police, the alarm platoons and the service dog handlers will also be equipped. A total of 7.2 million euros will be invested in this. Interior Minister Reul: "I am delighted that we will be able to send all riot police forces into action more safely and a little more easily in future."

The riot police consist primarily of 15 riot police squads and three evidence and arrest squads and are spread across 14 police headquarters. Riot police forces are called upon for large demonstrations, political summits, state visits and soccer matches, among other things.

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