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Ministry of Defence Police officers have been praised for their work as they trial new weapons systems for the marine unit. Officers volunteered to take part in a three-part test to ensure the equipment doesn’t hamper their safety or operations.
Chairman of the Defence Police Federation Eamon Keating (pictured) said: “We need to test that any new equipment we give to our officers in the water doesn’t interfere with their floatation devices or safety equipment should they enter the water, either conscious or unconscious.
“In this second part of the trial, officers repeatedly jumped from a five-metre platform into a swimming pool in full equipment, with life jackets either on automatic or off, testing every possible scenario.”
The Ministry of Defence Police has around 300 officers working in marine environments.
Eamon said: “Officers can be wearing full immersion suits, life jackets, and those on rigid inflatable boats wear crash helmets. But they also wear body armour, tac vests, and they have their full weapon and personal safety systems – rifles, pistols, Taser, PAVA spray, baton and handcuffs etc.”
One purpose of the tests is to check that the new equipment doesn’t interfere with the life jackets inflating and placing them upright in the water. “We need to make sure that that equipment functions and saves their life long enough for them to be recovered and put onto a safe platform,” said Eamon.
The third test will be carried out at sea, to trial the equipment in a real life environment. Eamon said: “All the staff on this, volunteers and the team that support the tests are doing a phenomenal job and they don’t get any additional kudos for it. They’re just doing this to test the equipment and ensure its safety. I am immensely proud and motivated by their commitment to their role and the Force”