Gardaí wear the new stab protective vest on patrol in Dublin City Centre.

The Gardaí are set to spend €7m on anti-stab vests to protect members of the force in the line of duty, according to new tender documents.

The estimated figure of €7m, based on current and future expected usage, is for an initial order of 7,000 ballistic anti-stab vests, under the terms of a three-year contract, to include any possible extensions. Companies have until November 3 to lodge their tenders.

The anti-stab vest is one measure in place to protect Gardaí in the line of duty. The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has argued that Gardaí face the daily reality of the threat of being attacked and claims no other group in Irish society – apart from prison officers – is confronted with this. The Gardaí are requiring that the stab vests will be worn generally as an outer garment but can be concealed under a jacket or coat.

The tender comes against the background of crimes against the person plateauing in 2020 due to the Covid 19 related ‘lockdown’ following a gradual rise over the past three years.

Along with providing protection against knife injuries, anti-stab vests will provide protection against needle stick injuries. In the aftermath of needle attacks, Gardaí would routinely undergo tests for HIV or other viruses.

In the tender documentation the Gardaí state that if an issue occurs with an anti-stab/ballistic vest – failure of independent testing for instance – over the duration of three-year contract, the successful tenderer must recall and test the batch, and subsequently replace all affected vests free of charge.