Cops say bullet-proof vests too heavy

2011-08-16 22:14

Durban - Some police officers do not wear bullet-proof vests because they are too heavy, a summit on police killings heard on Tuesday.

"Police officers believe that bullet vests are too heavy and they request that the weight be reduced," read one of the resolutions at the summit in Durban.

The call came after police chief General Bheki Cele ordered all police officers to wear bullet-proof vests when they are on duty to reduce police killings.

He sent a letter saying this to all deputy heads of police, divisional commissioners, provincial heads, commanders, the minister and the secretariat of police.

Cele said commanders at all levels would be held responsible if it was found that members did not heed this instruction.

But delegates attending the one day summit believe that it is not possible to wear them all the time because of weight.

More provincial summits on police killings are still going to be held in other provinces.

Speaking during the summit, KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu said firearms used to kill police officers in KwaZulu-Natal were likely to be the same ones used during political violence in the province.

"There is cause for concern regarding the killings of SAPS members due to historical proliferation of various weapons during political violence," said Mchunu.

No massive arrests

Mchunu said the province's legacy of political violence raised the likelihood that communities were armed with dangerous weapons.

KwaZulu-Natal has the second highest number of police killings after Gauteng.

According to the latest figures, 178 police officers have been killed in the past eight years in KwaZulu-Natal. Since January 15 police officers have been killed in the province.

Mchunu said he was concerned that when political violence ended when democratic dispensation dawned in 1994, no massive arrests were made.

"We don't know how many arms are still out there. There were no massive arrests after the end of violence and people did not surrender their arms," he said.

He said he believed there were still arms hidden by people who were involved in faction fights and political violence.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said police killings had reached proportional and unacceptable levels.

"One police killing is one too many. Criminal acts, including the killing of police officers deny and take away the most elementary human rights from our law abiding citizens."

  • v3 - 2011-08-16 22:43

    A while back I heard that light-weight bullet-proof vests would cost about R7,000, but that the ANC did not want to pay so much. In case any cop wonders what their lives are worth to the ANC, now you know.

      Welleducated - 2011-08-17 07:44

      The problem is not the cost of the VEST, but the fact that the tender could not be benefited by a politician because the vests are issued by one manufacturer with a patent on it. It is not the price of a police officer, but the fact that ANC politicians do not benefit directly.

      Rhowen - 2011-08-17 07:49

      It’s because 80% of them are unfit or overweight already.

      Tantrum - 2011-08-17 07:54

      It is not the vest that is heavy, it is their big fat asses

      JH.Barnard - 2011-08-17 08:05

      10kg's is a heavy vest, however soldiers wear heavier loads by default in way more demanding circumstances and usually significantly safer ones as well, I do believe the call is to where them on Duty, surely someone has the logic to deduce that this applies to patrolling duty and not office duty or some other arbitrary activity, but then again we are not dealing with rocket scientists are we?

      Leftyloosy - 2011-08-17 08:12

      @Welleducated - dont be naive, 99% of big companies will gladly sweeten the deal to sell 190000+ of anything let alone bulletproof vests. Big business is just as corrupt as an world government. They are prob the reason Government is so corrupt. All you need is to look at the americans.

      Jacques Smit - 2011-08-17 08:15

      I Only see overweight, unfit police people that can't even run around the block. lose the weight fatties, that's why it's too heavy. You are too heavy, not the vests!

      Thabiso marumo - 2011-08-17 08:16

      Lol, Tantrum you are right.

      Barry - 2011-08-17 08:25

      The Police Officers complaining are greedy, overweight, lacking exercise and they eat too much cho-cho. Stomach in chest out.

      lollie sue - 2011-08-17 09:03

      @Tantrum, lol

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-17 09:22

      Just wondering why part of the police force is shooting criminals and the other part appears to be a bunch of puffs... BTW, careful with traffic on Louis Botha, massive roadblock causing 20min delays this morning

      Badballie - 2011-08-17 09:30

      yes, there are much better and lighter vests available at very high prices, the problem is that like all the vests currently being used they have shelf life and are in this instance only warrantied for 2 years. The price of replacing them at such short intervals is extremely expensive. The current vests are good for anything up to 4 years after which the soft Kevlar mesh part of the jacket breaks down to the point were it will not stop a pistol round

      Netherlands - 2011-08-17 11:38

      Wearing a Size XXXXXL Bullet Proof Vest, has to be likened to LUGGING AROUND A TON on your shoulders!

  • Ingletor - 2011-08-16 22:50

    Too heavy? These cops need to harden up - I wonder if they have considered the possible outcomes of NOT wearing them? No brainer really.

      Monique Lovelock - 2011-08-17 07:46

      Have you ever picked up one of these vests. Try wearing it for 12 hours you will most definitely not last. Besides they offer very little in protection to the soft bellies of the cops as it does not offer proper protection. These vest also hinder the cops performance. The vest now used were last used by the international community 20 years ago. What is a no brainer is the value of their health and safety.

      Jake - 2011-08-17 08:12

      @Monique- I spent 13 years in the SAP I wore the vest every working day, your body gets used to the weight after a while, they just need to wear the vests for a while, but also a lighter vest would have been welcome.

      Tolerant - 2011-08-17 08:15

      Luckily policemen work shorter shifts now, only 8 hours at a time.

      Jacques Smit - 2011-08-17 08:16

      they clearly don't think at all...!

      PunkBuster - 2011-08-17 09:57

      Its called a gym, they should try it some time. I really think that there should be a more stringent hiring process for the SAPS. I've seen officers that wouldnt make it over a picket fence, let alone chase dowm a criminal on foot...

      Radrodent - 2011-08-17 13:08

      Geez. Please people. A vest that weighs 12 kg is nothing. I really things that the cops should stop recruiting pansies. Ag shame look at poor little baby police pansy..he must be struggling under that heavy vest. FHS give me a break already. Bunch of dikgat girl scouts.

  • Mareck - 2011-08-16 22:53

    It would be nice to know how much they weigh? I know the decent kevlar vests are around 3kg and the cheaper compound vests are around 10kgs. That is not too much to wear to help you save your life. And its dam good exercise for them fat cops.

      Big-D - 2011-08-16 23:09

      It's not the weight but the fact that the vests probably can't fit around most of their belly's!!!

      AloninSA - 2011-08-17 00:29

      Excuse me ? You don't think that walking around with a 10kg vest all day is heavy ? To wear a 10kg vest and walk around on duty all day would consume so much energy that when the time comes to chase someone or think efficiently in a tight situation there would be no energy left to react properly and effectively. That's based on the presumption that the vests they wear are that heavy. Yes, Police officers should be fit and strong, but regardless of your fitness levels it would drain a lot of unnecessary energy to wear such a heavy vest.

      Viv - 2011-08-17 08:06

      AloninSA - I would gladly wear a 10kg vest all day if I knew it would save my life. Plus I very much doubt they were it all day as most cops I see out and about are sitting in their cars, or the drive through or lounging in the station doing nothing so they are not wearing them all day long deary.

      Jacques Smit - 2011-08-17 08:18

      AloninSA, chances are they turn around and shoot at you while chasing, bullet in the chest = ouch and possible death...go figure.

      Anonymus - 2011-08-17 08:18

      maybe these over weight jelly babies need to loose some weight and get fit. instead of complaining that the armor is to heavy.

      DW - 2011-08-17 08:27

      Alonin, our previous SADF guys had to train carrying 56kg - running for 25kms, climbing over obstacles etc. Maybe it is time that our police force did some training exercises and were expected to keep fit. Yes 10kg is heavy, especially for a petite woman, but as stated above by Jake, you get used to it when you wear it every day all the time. However lighter vests would not go amiss, as long as they give the same level of protection.

      LindiBleu - 2011-08-17 09:30

      there is very little that your body cannot adapt to. If you train with 10 kgs of weight around your body, chances are in less than a month, you'll actually feel far too light without it. the problem with most of the SAPS is that they drink and smoke far too much. we are also told about the depression and suicidal tendencies they have due to the stress the deal with. if they get a lot of exercise, with the vests, we will have fitter policemen: physically and mentally cos everyone knows the benefits of exercise.

      LiciousDee - 2011-08-17 09:49

      i agree with @ Viv

      Radrodent - 2011-08-17 13:10

      Alonin please man. a vest that weighs 10kg is piss. grow a pair. Anyone that has done national service will laugh at you.

  • PilgrimX - 2011-08-16 23:02

    Maybe they are old stock from the apartheid days. Well, someone has to be blamed ;)

      Viv - 2011-08-17 08:08

      Too right PilgrimX - it is the white's that made the vest too heavy and the white's are to blame. I mean we are blamed for everything else so why not this. Pity black people are not catching on yet that blaming the white's is so old and no-one really even blinks at that kind of comment anymore.

  • johan.cronje1 - 2011-08-17 00:29

    As a soldier we were used to humping 45+kgs over 20 plus miles per day in searing heat, over bad terrain , day and night , and expected to be shot at . Way i see it most Police are also carrying that weight, unfortunately it is not in the form of equipment re:weapons , ammo , rations, radios, etc but in body fat.

      BigPig69 - 2011-08-17 06:24

      Ja riiight you carried it every day for 15 years and longer and when you hit an contact you kept your pack on? Also you forgot to mention the snakes you used to eat and the mountains you used to hurdle in one leap. Look it makes sense to wear one when operational, that's a no brainer, but sitting in an office or a day long meeting?? Also go look at the quality of these things that was issued and the effect of wearing it on a daily basis. They shouls have invested in better vests years back, but typical politicians and goverment go for the cheapest quote

      Viv - 2011-08-17 08:12

      Hey BigPig69 - you were probably one of those soft kids who's parents got you out of basic training hey. What Johan describes is actually a regular day in the SADF of yester year. Plus you cant blame the 'typical politicians and goverment to go for the cheapest quote' - its the white mans fault didnt you know!

      DW - 2011-08-17 08:32

      BigPig, Johan has a point. Our guys should be fitter and should be able to wear these in the field. However I agree that it is stupid to have to wear it in the office. For goodness sake, these are police stations. What kind of security do they have if anyone can come waltzing in and shoot at will? They shouldnt NEED them in the office. Instead of making the guys wear bullet proof vests in the office, sort out the security to prevent the threat from outside and ensure that the guys get the proper psychological treatment so that the threat from inside is eliminated. Typical ANC policy - treat the symptom instead of the cause.

      Radrodent - 2011-08-17 13:16

      Let's rather put it this way. I will gladly wear a 10 or 12KG vest and I challenge 90% of all cops to try and chase and catch me on foot when they are not wearing one. The fact is that they can't because they're dikgat pansies that are absolutely useless.

  • 420 - 2011-08-17 00:32

    Its not that the vest are too heavy, it's more likely that the officers are unfit...

  • D & T - 2011-08-17 00:54

    The problem I have with the SAPS vests is that they are not as effective when it comes to women, well women with a bit of boobs. Be reasonable here folks. You cant expect a female cop (even male ones for that matter) to be carrying 10kg whole day/night long and be able to chase a suspect/criminal. Come on now!

      Deric Slabberts - 2011-08-17 00:58

      The SAPS vest is not 10KG, more like 5GK. A level IV is roughly 10GK

      Viv - 2011-08-17 08:14

      D&T - really?? Woman have fought for equality and just because we have boobs we are not able to carry 10kg's of weight. Come on! If the cops were fit they would be able to carry the weight. Plus they are sitting at the Chicken Licken, in their cars or behind a desk most of the time so they dont wear them all day long girl.

      DW - 2011-08-17 08:34

      Viv I dont think you get the point. It is not so much about the weight but that the vests DONT FIT over big boobs. So they then become totally ineffective as they cannot strap them up and so the chest area, which is usually the target, is not protected.

      Radrodent - 2011-08-17 13:17

      I hear you D&T but are woman with big boobs then physically acceptable to be cops?

  • Deric Slabberts - 2011-08-17 00:55

    Too heavy!? It's half the weight of my level IV I use, and the existing SAPS vest is already not safe enough in my opinion. Check out the link for more information:

  • Proudly blue - 2011-08-17 01:51

    Wearing one with plates the entire day is taxing but bearable, it just adds alot of extra effort if i ever need to run/climb/jump after someone. They could definitely be lighter but its not unbearable in terms of weight. Its actually just not comfortable if you are driving. Hurts the lower back.

      onegreenparker - 2011-08-17 07:12

      @Proudly Blue - Thanks for your input, this conversation needed some first hand info! Good Luck out there!

  • Bloubul Jonck - 2011-08-17 03:08


  • Noname - 2011-08-17 05:19

    Maybe we should start employ police, which doesn't need to wear XXXL size of bulet proof vest.

  • Deeteem - 2011-08-17 05:35

    Most policemen/women ARE 10 KG's OVERWEIGHT ALREADY !!!

  • 4Lappies - 2011-08-17 06:19

    I would really like to see what the clever people commenting here would do if they have to carry up to 20kg of equipment for 12 hours a day. Go and try it before you make stupid comments.

      Tolerant - 2011-08-17 08:20

      It is 5kg for 8 hours at a time? Some time ago the shifts were shortened to 8 hours.

      LindiBleu - 2011-08-17 09:34

      Once worked in Alex dispensing social grants and we were required to wear it. start shift at 6am until 6 pm. was jogging 5 ks a day, at the time but I found it bearable. Of course, it helped that I dont hav size D cups!!!! and I didnt have to chase anyone...

      Radrodent - 2011-08-17 13:21

      Have tried it and have done it 4Lappies. 20kg is f-all.

  • rnortier - 2011-08-17 06:50

    Just shows how the training has deteriorated, these guys should be physically and psychologically strong enough to wear a bullet proof vest, the training should include basic training similar to the army, you get broken down and build up again while been in peak condition physically, the rubbish will be filtered out through this process. Being allowed to wear the uniform after successful completion will then be an accomplishment and have some pride and honour with it, as well as camaraderie, ultimately a better force!

  • Garry - 2011-08-17 06:59


  • Jason - 2011-08-17 07:08

    its becoz they all so fat n lazy..

  • Sisie - 2011-08-17 07:16

    Too heavy to remove when you want some corridor sex.

  • Kleinjan - 2011-08-17 07:19

    You should drop your guns too. Too heavy.

      Kleinjan - 2011-08-17 08:49

      I'm in the army and we wear them alot. If you are fit and in good condition, you don't notice it being there after a while.

  • Mike - 2011-08-17 07:24

    How much weight does a soldier carry,now a cop will not wear from 3-5 kg.Sissies.

      Kleinjan - 2011-08-17 11:25

      Good point! Anywhere from 26 to 48 Kg.

  • rushi.nortje - 2011-08-17 07:39

    That thing can save your life!!! They are police officers for peet sake... They are supposed to be tough, suppose toe be able to survive in war :/ Urh! Go to the gym & work out a little, maybe then you'd be able to handle a few kilo's extra to spare your lives...

  • Carl - 2011-08-17 07:50

    Idiots...laughing stock of wooses

  • BnQE - 2011-08-17 07:59

    A never ending string of complaints - sick of it ...

  • Viv - 2011-08-17 08:04

    OMG cops today are the worst! Get fit and then you will not feel the weight of the vest. Plus the weight of the vest is probably due to the heavy sheets of bullet stopping material guys!! Do you want a light vest that wont stop bullets so your fat asses wont have to work so hard or do you want a heavier vest that will possibly SAVE your life. I mean really come on. Its too heavy for my fat ass to carry!! Sheesh cops today are soft. I am yet to see a fit cop coming out of Douglasdale police station for example. All fat mama's and men who would not be able to catch a crawling 2 year old let alone a criminal!

  • Fredster69 - 2011-08-17 08:08

    Heavy vest vs Being alive...let me see...I would choose option 2

  • Gary - 2011-08-17 08:15

    Looking at the size of our cops imagine how the vest feel...

  • Cool Sunk - 2011-08-17 08:29

    Well perhaps if they did not spend money on the police bash that was pointless, they could afford proper infantry!!!

  • Henk van Tonder - 2011-08-17 08:31

    A simple solution is to to give the cops 12 months to get into shape. For every month after that, a penalty off their salaries should be imposed per kg of fat they are still overweight. This can fund modern, light-weight vests and save us taxpayers from fitting the bill for ill fitting vests.

      Wombat - 2011-08-17 09:52

      So Henk how fat are you?

  • Tony - 2011-08-17 08:42

    I am a CEO in the security industry. In my company if you cannot wear a bullet proof for 12 hour non stop you cannot become a security officer, period. Eligibility rule number 1. Fat untrained undisciplined people in the force.

  • JMan - 2011-08-17 08:48

    Heavier than a bullet in your chest? :/

  • JMan - 2011-08-17 08:49

    Heavier than a bullet in your chest? :/

      Enigma - 2011-08-17 09:22

      Well said body.

  • Enigma - 2011-08-17 09:01

    Cash guards wear these vests everyday because they know the risk job that they do. These unfit and lazy cops are always complaining about being shot at and now when there's a solution they still complain about the vests which are designed to protect them as being heavy. I think each cop who's on duty and will be working outside the station should be penalised if found without a vest.

  • VELOCITY - 2011-08-17 09:12

    Wear the vest or eat lead - simple

  • WhiteMalema - 2011-08-17 09:24

    If you don't have the integrity and physique to protect your own life, you should not be a police man! If a police man has such low regard for his own life, how the hell can he be in a position to protect the public? Just think how many R7000.00 light-weight vests Bheki Cele could have purchased with the millions wasted on unutilized expensive property leases!!!

  • abel-konstabel - 2011-08-17 09:24

    Morning all. I am a police officer from Cape Town and I do agree that the bullet-proof vests are very uncomfortable. Try wearing one for a 12h shift and then you will see my point. It is common practice for policemen to remove the steel plate from the back of the vest to make it much more comfortable and I must admit I do it myself. I don't have a problem with the fact that I don't have a plate in the back ,because I don't run away from a fight. And yes I have seen Black Hawk Down hahaha that aint happening to me

      Benson - 2011-08-17 09:41

      i think they get what they deserve. because the creminals they get this firearms from them those the took from as and sell to them. Now they kill them.In 2005 the Police at Bramley Police Station took my firearm when i demind it he said to me i must come with R 1500.00 hes going to give me back or els he going to arrest me. That guy he was treated me like a creamina Even now i dont know where or who gave it to. Cele & Mthethwa said we must foword the firearms then there at KwaZulu- Natal they didnt took from them these firearm is killing them now & mine they are going to continue killing themselves i which bazophela ngesam ngenxa yalanja yaseBramley

  • mo-man - 2011-08-17 09:40

    Hulle gatte is te dik!!

  • LiciousDee - 2011-08-17 09:46

    Police are just too fat and unfit hence the vest is heavy for them...why should they make the vest lighter so that they can indulge more on fatcakes, chicken licken etc? No, they must go gym and go on a healthy diet.... Lazy cops

  • preshengovender69 - 2011-08-17 10:10

    They must rather dodge bullets like NEO in the matrix

  • Eina - 2011-08-17 10:11

    I was a reservist for 5 years and believe me those vest are really heavy. Furthermore, in my days it was 'once size fits all' and being female and on the shorter side it was an uncomfortable experience. No place for boobs & the vest 'chokes' you if you sit down.

  • MDSS - 2011-08-17 10:33

    I do understand that they are heavy but will the unprotected police officer cope without bullet prove vest when fighting criminals.If they will cope show us how, as we have already noticed that if protected they always wins in shooting spree with the criminals.You find only few bullets on the police's vest. I recommend that let the police where them for as long as they are on duty.This is what gonna protect all of them on duty rather than dying.On the other hand this will be of much help as it is everyday exercise on line of duty like Soldiers who sometimes work with them on road blocks.Why soldiers don't quarrel about theirs,only the SAPS?

  • Tlnb - 2011-08-17 10:42

    Nice to see the comment here i am one of the overweight fat police officers you speak of but i dont draw a salary from the state have been shot at more times than i care to mention and even though i am fat i still am able to get my fat ass to the station and work over 150 hours a month for free risking my life for a country of people who are more intrusted in back biteing and calling each other names than dealing with the real problems we face as a nation so if the police need lighter vest who are you to tell them about there training and how fat thay are from most of the comments i can see most are from has beens or arm chair experts yes i agree the police should be fit but realy when that alarm goes off in the middle of the night or your wife in been raped or hijacked your child is missing who cares if the officer is overweight or fat or black or white all we should care about is that he has made a choose to stand up for his fellow man and the fact that the officers have been shot is because thay were prepared to go into harms way for someone els even someone commenting here on this page so if you cannot say something constructive pick up a Rifle put on the vest and work a shift otherwise shut the F up. my 2 cents

  • Pickle - 2011-08-17 11:00

    A vest is not going to protect you when the criminal aims for your head.And if you are lucky enough to shoot first you get locked up for murder. So what are the SAPS actually supposed to do? How must they defend their own lives aswell as the citizens if the Law is on the criminals side? yes we all see the videos of police brutality, but you only see part of it. you don't see what happened before the video got taken that invoked that officer to use brutal force. Sometimes it's fatal and sometimes it's not. I don't know. it all just sounds hopeless to me.

      Kleinjan - 2011-08-17 11:26

      Most deaths are from chest wounds. Fact.

  • letsee - 2011-08-17 11:33

    TOO HEAVY!!!! The task of police officers require physical fitness amongst other attributes and it's not a right of those missing required attributes to be a police officer but South Africans don't understand the concept of aptitude and competence. Fortunately Malema is on his way to fix all of that.

  • Bulumko - 2011-08-17 11:52

    Why didn't they just get them Nylon and Titanium Bullet Proof vests ? With the way they spend our hard earned cash,why not just carry on ?

  • jjgeldenhuys - 2011-08-17 13:30

    Well people, I'm a police official myself, and worked in gang areas for 8 years of my police career, and belief me I liked to wear my bulletproof, an XL bulletproof only weighs 7kg with the ceramic plates, yes it is uncomfortable. My problem with the current jackets is the fact that it is uncomfortable, and I'm 1,9m tall, with an average built, but a XL bulletproof is too small for me, not in width but in height; secondly as I already saw entry earlier, the jacket is suppose to be changed as soon as it is damaged or reach a certain age, mine is over 8 years old now and was already secondhand and damaged when I got it, had to fix it up myself... If you go to logistics to have it changed they inform you sorry there is no stock you have to wear the broken one... so what is the use??? Yes it is for our safety and I will continue to wear my broken one, but really think the Police must look into investing new jackets...

  • Jason - 2011-08-17 13:58

    walked into a police station when i was on lunch...the vest was sitting on his own chair!

      LiciousDee - 2011-08-17 14:10

      Oh Jason, why do they need to wear their vests in the office?

  • - 2011-08-17 15:12

    Still much lighter than a wooden box 6ft below the ground

  • Culex - 2011-09-23 23:35

    the vest are not heavy at all , some of us we are forgetting one thing that ,this is our life we playing with. policeman and policewoman must stop being politician and wear the bullet proof vest , stop being cry babies

  • Tom - 2012-02-20 12:16

    Most police in the United States should use type 2 body armor and to be fair you cant even tell its on most of the time!

  • Tynevdm - 2012-05-09 07:08

    Stomach in. Chest out! Make a plan to get their fat asses into a gym, not a kfc every lunch break.

  • pages:
  • 1