Trial gun belt
INADEQUATE FOR NSW POLICE
he latest version of front (this adds more room on the identified that the most problematic 23
the Shape Shifter belt and makes it more secure for areas of the Shape Shifter were:
accoutrement belt and an the wearer). • The front buckle and its elastic
Police Journal October 2005 journal.pasa.asn.au
associated harness are not • The thickness of the load-bearing cover (the plastic clasp does not clip
fit to be trialled, according to the Police (outer) belt needs attention, as it fully into place and has, on occasion,
Association of NSW. Association offers no support for the wearer’s allowed the clip to come apart).
representatives on an accoutrement back – the stitching forces it to go • Adjustable straps at the front of
belt project team claim the harness out. (The load-bearing belt is so stiff the belt.
has, among other failings, the potential that it forces out of shape – when it • Adjustable straps, which do not
to choke its wearer. should assist – the softer comforter lock securely, continue to loosen and
Faults evident in the belt, they said, [inner] belt. The solution is a softer therefore make the readjustment of
ranged from too little capacity for the belt necessary each day.
adjustment, to insufficient support for • The absence of keepers allowing
• The sizing came as a major concern
the wearer’s back. the belt to move around easily and
(one trial participant who normally
Members of the Police Association- therefore cause the appointments to
wore a size 70 could, with the new
led project team met in early June, move location.
belt, only just don a size 80).
and agreed that the belt and harness • The failure of the Cordura style to
Mr Hannon said the failures in the extend through the buckle and
were unfit for the second of three
phases in a trial which began last year. new design had left the Police accommodate the even distribution of
But the NSW police department’s Association intensely frustrated. “It appointment holders (no belt on which
Uniform Services has bought 100 of fails to address the issues the to place appointment carriers exists
the new-version belts. association took to Uniform at the front).
“The current design of the belt does Services,” he said. • Double handcuff pouches which
not assist officers with the sciatic and “The association’s aims have been cause difficulties for wearers when
to get operational police off of they sit in vehicles and on chairs. Leading Senior Constable Tracey
muscular problems they’re
Bloomfield of The Rocks police station
experiencing,” said project manager restricted duties and back to fully • The current-issue gun holster,
wearing the newest Shape Shifter belt.
and Police Association executive operational duties, and to raise the which does not lock securely into
member, Luke Hannon. overall comfort level of the equipment position with Velcro, and therefore
“There is a large number of belt for all operational police.” needs to be an extended loop holster. Mr Hannon told the project team
operational police currently on Mr Hannon said the faults of a • The absence of space for the that Commissioner Ken Moroney
restricted duties and awaiting the sample harness, which Uniform portable radio clip/attachment. should be informed of the whole
outcomes of this trial. Briefed on the problems, the accoutrement belt saga. He added
Services showed the Police
“A recent independent inquiry found manufacturer was expected to alter that the Police Association needed
Association and project team, were
that Victorian police have made in the belt accordingly – and within a assistance from the NSW Police so
“obvious for all to see”. Three of his
excess of 200 WorkCover claims – timeframe that would allow its that an improved belt could be “rolled
observations were that the harness:
which cost almost $7 million over four distribution as a new, improved out with some urgency”.
• Did not fit correctly.
years – for back pain caused by heavy version to 80 trial participants before
• Featured adjustment buckles that
utility belts. Christmas 2004. However, Uniform
were likely to dig into the wearer’s
“If NSW Police wants to avoid a Services did not receive the new belts
back when he or she sat in a car seat until March 2005.
similar situation, and it is definitely
or on a chair.
heading in that direction, the co-
operation of the employer in this • Featured a front zipper which
posed a serious OHS risk – that
project is imperative.”
From its inspection of the new of choking.
Ten female participants had been • Overloaded: how the New South Wales police accoutrement belt plagues
version of the Shape Shifter, the
measured for, and were to test, the its wearers (Police Journal, Feb 2004).
project team insisted that:
• The front of the belt had to be TLC harness with the belt. They had • Accoutrement belt trial to commence (Police Journal, June 2004).
tapered inward so as to prevent it not received the harnesses before the • NSW accoutrement belt trial underway (Police Journal, Oct 2004).
from digging into the wearer’s end of 2004 – as expected – as
• Shortcomings revealed in NSW accoutrement belt trial (Police Journal,
abdomen. Uniform Services did not take delivery
• Velcro needed to be placed all the of them until June this year.
An evaluation of the first phase of • Next stages of the NSW accoutrement belt trial (Police Journal, Feb 2005).
way through to the end of the belt to
allow for sufficient adjustment at the the accoutrement belt trial had