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​New ballistic vests protect sheriff's officers​

Issued: Friday, 17 June 2016

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Bullet-proof vests will be rolled out to the state's Sheriff's Officers after the NSW Government changed regulations to permit their use, Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant and Attorney General Gabrielle Upton announced today.

"In light of the heightened terror alert and increased security concerns, it is important our Sheriff's Officers feel safe when carrying out their duties at courts and in the field," Ms Upton said. 

"Sheriff's Officers will wear a vest when dealing with high risk matters at court or carrying out field duties such as evictions and seizures of assets, which can be unpredictable and highly emotional.''

Mr Grant said the Weapons Prohibition Amendment (Exemptions) Regulation 2016 removed the need for an exemption to be sought for the state's Sheriff's Officers to wear the vests.

"Sheriff's Officers work at the frontline of our courts to keep them safe and this gives them flexibility to step up their protection when needed," Mr Grant said. 

The Office of the NSW Sheriff will determine the make of the vests based on the needs of Sheriff's Officers and on assessed risk.

Ms Upton said the vests, which will begin deployment later this year, support other measures recently introduced to assist Sheriff's Officers in their line of work and strengthen security throughout the NSW court system.

"The vests will be funded by existing resources, and through $5.2 million counter-terrorism funding , announced recently as part of the NSW Government 2016-17 State Budget," Ms Upton said.

Last year, court security was boosted by the appointment of an additional 40 new Sheriff's Officers and the Court Security Act was amended to allow Sheriff's Officers to arrest anyone who commits an assault in a courtroom or on court premises.