Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The overmatching of UK police body armour
Author: Mabbott, A. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 9790
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Police officers and other personnel in the UK routinely wear body armour that provides protection from specific threats. Typically, 'soft' armours, usually formed from multiple layers of fabric, can protect wearers from fragmentation and low velocity (handgun) ballistic threats, while ‘hard’ armours, formed from ceramic and composite plates, offer protection from high velocity (rifle) threats. Protection from stab and/or slash attack is predominantly provided by utilising chain mail and laminated solutions. The question has been raised however, of what would happen when armour is overmatched with a greater threat than it is designed to protect against. A limited number of studies have been published in the open source literature regarding the overmatching of soft body armour. This research aims to increase the understanding of overmatching, by investigating the effect of both i) soft fabric body armour designed to protect from handgun ammunition being challenged by high velocity rifle projectiles and ii) knife and spike resistant armour protecting against low velocity handgun projectiles. A subsection of the research considered three tissue simulants in order to find the most suitable for investigating the effects of overmatching armour. A method for recording the damage produced in the simulants was also developed; from which comparison of damage to different targets was possible. Following the tissue simulant investigation, gelatine blocks 10% in concentration were selected and used to investigate the overmatching of two types of UK police body armour. Three different arrangements were setup, namely 10% gelatine blocks 500mm, 10% gelatine blocks 250mm in length, and porcine thoracic walls arranged to simulate a thorax. Testing blocks 500mm in length was a set-up typical to ballistic investigations; the blocks were capable of capturing the majority of the projectiles’ damage, with the damage produced in both unprotected and protected (on the front face only) targets compared. Based on anthropometric measurements, testing 10% gelatine blocks 250mm in size was more representative of a torso sized target. With the blocks smaller, armour was placed on both the front and back face of targets. This is more representative of how armour would be worn in a real life scenario; patrolling UK police officer wearing armour that protects both the front and back of their torso. Finally, the use of porcine samples arranged to simulate both protected and unprotected thoraxes enabled comparisons of the damage seen in homogenous tissue simulants to damage in non-homogenous material typical to those found in the human torso. The outcomes from testing three different targets with two ammunition and armour combinations revealed the effect of overmatching armour is not one that can be generalised and predicted for all overmatching scenarios. The presence of armour on the rear face of targets based on typical measurements of human chest depth, increased the chances of the projectiles tested remaining within the targets.
Supervisor: Carr, D. ; Champion, S. Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Body armour