- Ballistic vest is main concern, members must wear it eight hours a day
- Senior Constable Robert Catalucci is seeking damages for his injured back
- Victoria Police say they are looking to update equipment in the future
- Police Association was unable to say the weight of the officers uniform
Police officers have gone to court seeking compensation for injuries sustained from their heavy uniform. Senior Constable Robert Catalucci, 41, is the latest to take legal action after 10 years with the force. The Victorian police officer has lodged a County Court writ seeking damages for injuries to his back.
Speaking with Daily Mail Australia, Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said: ‘Since mid-last year, police have been required to wear body armour when on patrol. This can cause discomfort for some members, an issue that we have raised with Victoria Police who advise that they are looking to introduce updated equipment in the future.’
While the Police Association was unable to tell Daily Mail Australia the weight of the officers uniform, Secretary Iddles added ‘We are aware that some members find the wearing operational safety equipment for long periods of time tiresome and uncomfortable.’
Speaking to The Herald Sun, Senior Constable Catalucci argued that the force failed to assess the risks of carrying equipment on a belt, something that he claims caused soft tissue damage to his lumbar region and a prolapse that required a disc replacement.
While he still works in a lower-earning administrative capacity, Senior Constable Catalucci says he now suffers with pain, shock, anxiety and depression. He is seeking damages for loss of income and superannuation.
He added the force failed to ensure equipment could be readjusted when seated and that police cars had suitable seats, and took too long to provide alternatives to the heavy leather utility belt.
While the Police Association was unable to say what the weight of the officers uniform was, Secretary Iddles supposed there’s been an increase in muscular skeletal injuries
After 10 years on the force, Senior Constable Robert Catalucci, 41, is taking legal action and seeking damages for injuries to his back
While the ballistic vest is considered to be the main concern, a uniformed officer’s standard kit also includes a pistol, ammunition, a radio, an extendable baton, capsicum spray canisters, handcuffs, a mobile phone and sometimes a Taser.
Velcro belts, equipment vests and thigh holsters help to spread the load, but for many the change has come too late or offers little relief.
Daily Mail Australia reached out to the Victoria Police who responded saying, ‘The safety of our employees is paramount. We continue to monitor and promote health and safety for our people to reduce illnesses and injuries.’
In regards to equipment they added, ‘During procurement phase, equipment is rigorously tested to ensure it provides protection and best fit for our members. Members are regularly communicated with around safety issues, such as the correct wearing of integrated operational equipment vests and ballistic vests.’
Victoria Police told Daily Mail Australia that equipment is rigorously tested during the procurement phase to ensure it provides protection and the best fit for their members
Secretary Iddles also spoke with 3AW breakfast, saying that, ‘There’s been an increase I suppose in muscular skeletal injuries since members have been required to wear it eight hours a day’.
He added that the government was aware of the problem. ‘We’ve lobbied the government and hopefully within this budget cycle there will be an announcement in relation to a vest which will reduce the weight.’