Stab-resistant vests make Fishery officers safer
12 June 2007
"Fishery officers will be safer as they work to protect New Zealand’s valuable fisheries," the Minister of Fisheries, Jim Anderton, said today.
The stab-resistant vests are designed to protect the wearer’s torso from attack by sharp-edged weapons and have just been introduced. The vests meet the requirements of British police and are the same as those chosen by New Zealand police.
Fishery officers are working every day with people who carry knives, gaffs, spear-guns and other sharp objects as part of their fishing tackle. “They are not carrying these objects as weapons, but they could be used as weapons if a situation takes a turn for the worse. It’s a matter of supplying fishery officers with the equipment to do their job as safely as possible," Jim Anderton said.
“Fishery officers are out there making sure our children and grandchildren are going to be able to enjoy the same fishing opportunities and access to fish that our generation does. It’s an important job and it’s important the officers are kept safe.
“There have been a number of occasions where knives or edged weapons have been presented to fishery officers and they’ve managed to withdraw without serious injury," Jim Anderton said. “But situations can flare up very quickly on the beach or during a search, and while officers are trained to withdraw from violent situations, I want them to be as protected as possible from nasty surprises.”
Vests are being issued to fulltime fishery officers, with the Ministry of Fisheries reviewing whether to also issue them to honorary fisheries officers.
“It’s not the intention to expose our honorary officers, who volunteer their time, to situations where a stab-resistant vest is likely to be needed," Jim Anderton said. "This issue needs careful consideration."