POLICE taking part in riot training will be better protected thanks to a Liversedge firm.
Officers in West Yorkshire sometimes came away from their public order training with bumps and bruises, because the only kit available was either rugby tackle shields or martial arts pads for defence against baton strikes, punches and kicks.
Trainers Pc Dave Makinson, 46, and Pc Jim Wilson, 49, decided they could find something better and so turned to Liversedge-based GNG Sport.
The firm is the UK’s leading provider of rugby contact shields, tackle bags and protective pads.
The specially designed police pads mean the officers can wield their batons, kick and punch with force – without fear of hurting their colleagues.
Pc Wilson said: “Previously we had basic square pads which were not adequate for the advanced techniques that we use.
“We discussed this with GNG Sport and worked with them to design and develop a range of pads.”
Both Pc Wilson and Pc Makinson are international baton trainers and regularly travel to the United States to train police officers.
Their knowledge of baton use played a key role in the development of a unique ‘body pad’ that protects the holder from chest to ankle.
GNG Sport director Neal Spencer said: “By working closely with the police officers we were able to integrate their feedback into our new product.
“This allowed us to create a range of products that are specific to the techniques used to train West Yorkshire’s officers. We are now approaching other UK police forces to see how we can work with them to benefit public order training by providing them with bespoke protective gear.”