POLICE officers in North Yorkshire have been issued with new body armour.

Inspector Richard Abbott, of Selby Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the new stab vests were an improvement on the previous design, with added protection.

He said: “The new vests have been issued to all operational officers and PCSOs in the force. Each staff member has been measured to ensure that the new vests are a good fit, and therefore offer the best protection to the wearer.

“Additionally a high visibility, equipment carrying, vest has been issued, in which handcuffs, Pava spray and baton are carried. This does away with the various different methods of equipment carried by staff in the past and brings a ‘uniformed’ appearance to all staff.”

Insp Abbott said the new protective vests were lighter than the old ones, which went a long way to “making the job of wearing one for a ten-hour shift, slightly more bearable”, but emphasised the change had not been made in order to cope with a rise in knife crime.

He said: “Knife crime is very rare in our district, however the wearing of such a protective vest gives our staff the confidence to deal with most situations.

“The wearing of the protective vests is a precautionary measure, ensuring that North Yorkshire Police offers its staff the best protection it can, in conjunction with the personal protective equipment.”