Post Office: Stab vests being trialled for Cash-in-Transit crews

Post Office (PO)

“All workers in at-risk occupations must have the best available protections,” points out CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey, as he explains the trials starting this week of stab vests for our members who collect and delivery cash and valuables.

Volunteer employees at four Post Office Supply Chain depots – in London, Manchester, Sheffield and Swansea – will be wearing the new kit over the next couple of months, he explains, adding that both the company and the union will be monitoring and reviewing the vests in accordance with agreed criteria, which will include comfort, ease to wear whilst driving and crossing the pavement when delivering to Post Offices, together with ease of putting the vests on.

“It’s a sad fact of life these days that knife crime is on the increase in the UK and, due to the nature of our CViT crew members’ work, there is an increased vulnerability which we need to address,” Andy continued.

As well as providing physical protection to crew members in the event of a knife attack, the vests are also intended to act as a visual deterrent to criminals

“Thankfully, our members do not experience large numbers of attacks – but even one attack is one too many,” insists Andy.

CWU national health, safety & environment officer Dave Joyce will be working together with his Post Office counterpart Martin Hopcroft with regard to safe systems of work, standard operating procedures and the legally-required information, supervision and training.

Dave says that “over the past year, both the company and the union have become increasingly concerned at the level of knife crime being reported in the retail environment and on UK streets in large cities.

“Whilst the Post Office’s annual robbery risk assessment has, to date, concluded the armed robbery risk to be low, there has been a notable increase in the presence of blades during robberies and an increase in violence used in robberies at Post Office branches.

“And it’s for these reasons that the time is right for a trial of body armour whilst robbery risk assessment continues to be reviewed.”

  • Annual Crime Survey Statistics published by the British Retail Consortium have highlighted an increase in robberies and an increase in the use of knives, blades and needles, while the British Security Industry Association has voiced concerns regarding the increase in violence on the streets.
  • The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require the Post Office to assess the risks to health and safety arising from the CViT operation and to put in place measures to prevent or reduce to the lowest practicable level risks to health and safety of employees and others.  
  • This trial will enable the Post Office to consider risk reduction measures to meet its obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other relevant regulations, including thePersonal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992 and the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992