BODY ARMOUR FOR FRONTLINE HOUSING OFFICERS
Frontline housing officers are the specialists, who are always at a potential risk of not just verbal abuse, but physical violence as well. Although these threats are posed by public members, body armour is probably the perfect way to minimize the risk of harm that can be suffered by a frontline housing officer.
What Housing Officers Do?
Frontline housing officers have a broad range of quite sensitive responsibilities, like dealing with anti-social conduct, rent arrear collection, and even solving some rather intense wrangles between neighbors. They frequently must deliver unbidden messages, probably turning down an application for housing, or a repair request that is the responsibility of a resident.
So, the issue we are going to discuss is what can and has to be done in order to maximally increase the chance of housing officers returning home unharmed.
There Was a Survey…
Chartered Institute of Housing made a survey and published it in the Inside Housing magazine. It involved 200 social landlords. The survey displayed a shocking number of 8,898 assaults on housing officers from January 2009 to April 2012. Whenever you have time, try finding this article on the web.
This survey showed that housing staff workers were exposed to about 8 verbal and physical assaults a day, across the United Kingdom. About 1,350 assaults were physical attacks, which makes it over one per day, with the rest involving verbal insults. The recorded number was shown to be rising year after year. From 2010 to 2011 the amount of verbal assaults increased by 13%, whereas physical assaults increased by 35%.
Improving Personal Protection of Housing Officers
There are various reasons for a broadly reported raise of frontline housing staff assaults. First of all, there is heightened pressure on residents because of the global economic crisis and the hard-time in the financial situations. This results in stress that is expressed by some people through verbally and physically aggressive behavior towards people, whom they consider not getting into their shoes enough.
Body armour has become a true necessity for Housing Associations. Various body armour vests are worn by frontline housing staff in a few countries nowadays.
Some housing companies conduct internal researches, re-evaluate risks, make security device for housing officers affordable, and emphasize on the significance of good training to manage and resolve conflicts.
All things mentioned above are critically important. Effective training that is provided by someone that actually knows what the thing is about can’t be exaggerated.
Nevertheless, it’s also necessary to comprehend that a lack of proper safety measures may put a person at an additional risk and then lead to very bad injuries. Therefore, body armour has become a true need for housing managers and officers. And, as stated above, various body armour vests are worn by frontline housing officers in quite a few countries.
Body armour that provides the highest protection level from hypodermic needles, bladed weapons, and blunt force traumas really makes sense.
However, while the risk of being stabbed or even shot is not as high as some news reports might tell. But, the risk of some resident overreacting to housing staff, because they are simply in the process of disconnecting them from water, electricity, or gas, or being attacked by someone, because you are just collecting money or rent they can’t or do not want to provide, or being attacked by a resident, because you can’t or don’t want to solve their long-term dispute with a neighbor is a TRUE RISK that can come to reality.
In case of such situations, when such individual starts verbally abusing you and then throws a punch at you, body armour can become a real need for real circumstances.
Body armour will help focus just on two goals – how to escape quickly or how to protect your head properly. You will have a bulletproof vest/stab proof vest that will be protecting your vital organs, so you won’t have to worry about them.