Police warn of 'vest-grappling' tactic

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 13:44 19/06/2014

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Police are warning each other about a ''vest-grappling'' tactic being practiced by criminals behind bars. 

An article was published in the latest Police News magazine, after police got wind of Christchurch Men's Prison inmates teaching each other the manoeuvre.

The technique involves grabbing an officer's stab-resistant vest and using it as a pivot point to pull them to the ground during a scuffle.

Detective Kelvin Holden posted a report on the police bulletin board as he felt it was a safety issue.

He suspected word of the move would spread to other prisons.

''Prisoners have a lot of spare time in jail to be spent thinking about things such as this, as well as exercising, weight training, practising martial arts, boxing and playing 'crash' [a type of rugby league played on concrete],'' Holden told the magazine. 

The article cited an April incident, where an Auckland police officer responding to a group fight was grabbed by his vest, taken to the ground, attacked and left unconscious. 

Holden advised staff to keep a safe distance if there was a chance of confrontation with an offender.

Stab-proof vests were introduced into police uniform in 2006 after slashing and stabbing assaults on police rose from two a year in 1999 to 48 in 2003.

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