SOUND THE ALARM ON KNIFE CRIMES
Over the years, crimes involving guns and mass shootings have become increasingly common in the United States that sadly, it has become a normal occurrence when we hear about it in the news or social media.
Ordinary citizens, law enforcement, and security professionals alike have been gearing up whenever they go out in their neighborhoods, schools, and other public spaces simply because these incidents can occur at any time and in any location.
While the 2nd Amendment is a consistently controversial topic, little has been said about the rise in crimes and attacks involving knives, needles, baseball bats, and other edged weapons.
In recent years, terror acts in the form of mass stabbings have been emerging in other countries such as China, India, and parts of Europe, with the most recent one being in New Zealand where a stabbing attack that left at least six people injured earlier this month prompted the country's government officials to tighten terrorism laws.
Many defense and security experts believe this is due to the ease with which knives and other edged weapons can be obtained and concealed, particularly by criminals or evildoers who do not want to attract the attention of security personnel.
In this month's brand spotlight, we speak with Robert Kaiser, CEO of PPSS Group, a UK-based international firm specializing in the development and supply of high-performance body armor.
Kaiser is one of the most passionate and knowledgeable experts in the field of body armor and has published several articles focused on the rise of global knife crimes and the safety and protection for frontline and security professionals. He has also become the face of the brand in their promotional videos, often subjecting himself to "real-world scenarios" in order to demonstrate how their products would perform in the face of danger.
Knife crimes does not only involve stabbing attacks, however. His article, "The Danger of Slashing | Human Anatomy," delves into the other dangers that someone wielding a knife can pose to civilians and professionals alike, such as being slashed or cut in key arteries and blood vessels, which can result in rapid blood loss and, in the worst-case scenario, death.
Such is the idea behind their SlashPRO® Slash Resistant Clothing, made from their very own Cut-Tex® PRO, a cut resistant fabric designed to be the most effective protection from cuts to muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves.
CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT KAISER
With their mission to provide unrivaled protection and personal safety to frontline professionals and civilians all over the world, PPSS Group went on to launch a plethora of products ranging from stab, slash, bite, and cut resistant body armor and clothing since their founding in 2009.
In our conversation below, Robert tells us the origins of PPSS Group, what the ultimate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) looks like for him, their next big plans, and... does he ever get hurt while filming their testing videos?
Q: Do you recall the exact moment you realized there will be a demand in stab resistant and slash resistant protective equipment? Can you tell us a little bit about the origins of PPSS Group and what you had in mind back in 2009?
Robert: It was around 2007 when I started to investigate knife crime a little more. Having run a UK and Spain-based security at that time, I could clearly witness the growing number of individuals carrying knives and their desire to use it. The average age of the individuals carrying and using edged weapons appeared to drop around that time too.
Following quite thorough investigation, I ultimately, I concluded that certain things, such as religious/political extremists, drugs, poverty and social exclusion, social media as well as serious mental illness will lead to a further increase of global knife crime.
It was then that I started to believe that I know enough about this subject matter and established that the body armour available to our security professionals at that time, would not offer sufficient levels of protection from this particular threat. That’s when we started the research and development phase and that became the foundation of what is now known as PPSS Group.Q: You recently launched your new high tech Carbon Fiber body armor which reduces the thickness and weight of your body armor vests while still providing full spike protection. What was the thought process behind the development of this new approach in the production of your vests?
Robert: There are a few significant differences between our previous polycarbonate-based stab resistant body armour and our new-generation carbon-fibre based model. Right from the offset when we investigated carbon-fibre and studied all available technical data we knew that this incredible material would allow us to design a body armour that would pass official spike protection levels set by governments around the world.
The difference between knife and spike protection is of great significance. It really is not overly difficult to stop a knife from penetrating a body armour. To stop a spike, shanks, dart or any other specifically engineered pointed weapon takes incredible in-depth research, knowledge and skill, and of course the perfect raw material.
The second objective was to create a stab resistant body armour that will also offer certified and unrivalled protection from blunt force trauma (impact) injuries, usually the result of a punch, kick or blow by a blunt object. Again, we established at a very early stage that carbon-fibre would be the ideal raw material solution.
Our body armour is now subsequently certified to the stringent German VPAM test and offers more than 100 Joules of certified impact protection. That’s something that was previously absolutely unheard of.
Q: How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the direction of the PPSS Group when it comes to your future product offerings?
Robert: To be honest, COVID-19 has not had any impact on our future products offering or any associated plans. We accept the devastating affect the virus had and is still having on many individuals around the world, and we are deeply saddened by it, but we decided for it not to have an impact on the future directions of PPSS Group.
Q: If you had the chance to design the perfect Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for today's world without regard for cost, raw materials, or time, what would it be like?
Robert: That’s somehow a very interesting question, but very difficult for me to answer as I see myself as a very ‘realistic’ and ‘factual’ person who doesn’t watch science-fiction films or fairy tales. But to answer this cool question, I would say the ultimate type of PPE would be an ultra-thin, and I mean 1 or 2mm thin, ultra-covert, ultra-lightweight anti-riot suit type piece of PPE, offering all homeland and private security professionals sufficient full body protection in any type of operation no matter what.
Many covertly operating officers and operator decide not wear body armour or PPE because it will take away the ‘total covert’ aspect and of course be questioned by the organization they may well have infiltrated. It would also give them the chance to use their personality, skills and experience to de-escalate a potentially hostile and dangerous situation, rather than being pre-judged due to their visible body armour.
Q: Which of your product offerings then and now do you feel most proud of, and why?
Robert: I genuinely don’t have a specific product I feel most proud of. What I am most proud of is that we ultimately took the brave decision to replace our established polycarbonate-based stab resistant body armour with the new generation carbon-fibre version, not prioritizing cost savings and profit margins, but the performance and protection level of the body armour, and ultimately the safety of the officer who will end up wearing them. It wasn’t an easy decision, for too many professionals unfortunately money still rules, not their own safety.
Q: What are the next big plans of the PPSS Group that we can look forward to in the coming years?
Robert: Our next major step is to offer our customers an ultra-lightweight anti-riot suit. We can clearly see an increase in major riots around the world. The United States Capitol attack is just one of many events that clearly highlight a lack of appropriate and operationally sound personal protective equipment to law enforcement officers, never mind correctional officers who deal with similar types of violent incidents.
Q: Finally, your product demo videos have been widely shared on social media platforms. You've been stabbed with various weapons, battered with baseball bats, and so on — no doubt you have a lot of trust in your products. However, we have to ask... Was there ever a time when you were afraid or worried that the vest would fail at the last moment? What goes through your mind when you are "attacked" in front of an audience, and... how painful is it really?
Robert: I can genuinely state that I have never felt I was at risk of our body armour or our slash-resistant clothing failing. All the demo product videos have been produced following countless of internal tests on pieces of raw materials, slowly increasing the force we use during the testing every single time, until I ultimately developed this 100% trust in each of our products.
The only case when I ever experienced pain was when we created the demo product video for our ultra-thin bulletproof body armour we used to produce several years ago. In that video, one can clearly see the pain I was in following the impact of the bullet. But my argument always is… our body armour and protective clothing is not there to 100% stop the pain. Its ultimate job is to prevent death and ensure the wearer can return home after their working day.
BULLETPROOF ZONE'S TOP 3 PICKS
The next generation of PPSS Group's stab-resistant body armor. The PPSS GROUP COVERT STAB RESISTANT VEST offers protection against not only knife attacks and stabbings, but also spikes, improvised weapons, and blunt force trauma.
It's a thin, lightweight concealable vest made from their new advanced carbon fiber composite that's ideal for frontline professionals who are frequently exposed to edged blade weapon attacks, impact-based injuries, and improvised weapons.
Extensively field-tested and fully certified, the SLASHPRO TURTLENECK JACKET offer the wearer truly outstanding protection from blades, knives, and edged weapons. With it's high collar design, it protects from injuries on the jugular vein and carotid artery, usually the target of knife attacks that can cause rapid blood loss, following shock, and even death.
This turtleneck jacket is suitable for Prison/Correctional Services, Police/Law Enforcement, Homeland Security Agencies, and all Security Professionals.
The SLASHPRO BODY ARMOR BASE LAYER offers the highest level of cut protection to the entire arms - the most vulnerable part of the body during knife attacks and close combat encounters. Field-tested against levels of cut protection from blades, knives, and edged weapons, this product will protect the wearer from blades or broken glass.
The torso area is made from a highly breathable fabric to ensure comfort even when worn during extended periods of time especially for Security Professionals, Law Enforcement, and Correctional Officers on the job.
PROTECTION IN AN UNPREDICTABLE WORLD
In every part of the world, the 21st century brought numerous advancements in technology, science, health, and security. However, it is also accompanied by an increase in violent crimes, terrorist acts, and new security threats.
Criminals have become increasingly brazen and even more dangerous, exploiting even the most average of activities for criminal purposes. We unfortunately live in a world where a simple trip to the store or your daily routine could result in serious injury.
When it comes to your safety and protection, always go for body armor that you can trust 100%. Viral marketing schemes have become popular regardless of whether they are bordering on false advertising so make sure you only go for a brand that understands your needs for security and peace of mind.
The hours of research, field testing, and trial and error that the PPSS Group invests in every product they launch demonstrate their commitment to saving lives and providing protection to those who need it most. The next generation of high-performance body armor is here, and it's just a click away.