Friday, 30 September 2011

Lowa Boots Review - Old Faithful

My Lowa Boots are now my oldest and most worn pair of boots.  After a mid length dalliance with a pair of commercial Berghaus boots I purchased at 16 and trekked around the world in I finally replaced them with a new pair of Lowa Boots  more specifically a pair of the Goretex Mountain Boots , and have never looked back.

These boots were fantastic from the first time I pulled them on, literally cutting the labels off them and doing 10 miles in them fresh out of the box.  From that first hike to my most recent dog walk I have never suffered a blister, pinching, rubbing or any form of discomfort.  I have used and abused these boots in almost every condition and terrain, urban, sub arctic, rocky, swampy, sub tropical and everything in between and can't fault them in any respect.

The Mountain GTX Lowa boots are of course the Goretex version of the Lowa Patrol Boots, being almost identical in every aspect.  Personally I love the goretex and the 8inch ankle height normally means they don't get flooded often and the benefits of the waterpoof membrane out weigh the quicker drying version on 9 occasions out of 10.  (If you want a higher boot from Lowa I would recommend the Combat GTX 10 inch version, but some people find these go a little too high!)

Lowa also offer a selection of other boots in their Task Force range.  The light weight and sporty Zephyr Desert Mid, the Urban Military 2 ever popular with Police officers and the Para Recon.....or Recon Para.... which are "The Slippers" of the Lowa Task Force boot world.

One of the major advantages of buying a pair of Lowa's is the fact that they can be re soled.  A friend an colleague of mine (who recommended them to me originally) had his last him for 8 years in the RMP for the Parachute Regiment and after re soling are still going strong as he works as a security manager in Yemen 5 years later.

So for your next pair of boots for military, or para military use I stake my reputation on Lowa!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Op. Zulu Police Bags

I have recently been introduced to the new range of Op. Zulu police Kit Bags .  Currently they offer two mid size kit bags, the Police Duty Bag and the Police Patrol Bag .  Both are aimed at the police or security officer but catering for slightly different needs.

The Duty Police Bag is the larger of the two and will carry pretty much all your equipment, stabbie, coat, FPN holder, gloves, torch, files and folders, a laptop, sandwiches, flask of tea.....even your gym kit if you want to get in a session before or after work!  The Duty Kit bag is pretty similar to other police kit bags in size and layout but it has a couple of nifty enhancements and a level of construction and finish that elevates it way above competitors at its price point.  The Op. Zulu Duty Police Kit Bag offers padded walls, a padded divider, bottle holder, key hook, organizational pockets, laptop pocket, Duraflex handles, padded shoulder strap and metal hardware throughout.

The Police Patrol Carry Bag is a narrower "soft briefcase" or "messenger bag" is more for organizing and transporting files, paperwork, laptop etc as it can't hold as much equipment.  It has a selection of pockets for carrying other equipment like a C or D cell torch, mobile phone or PDA, keys, Ipad and more.  This police bag can be slung comfortably over the shoulder and its light weight means it can be carried easily for long periods.  Again the Patrol Bag has all metal hardwear, Duraflex handles, padded walls and removable central divider.

Both these police bags offer fantastic value and the kind of quality you would expect from 5.11 or Blackhawk but at a price point you would expect from unbranded equipment.  When you choose your next kit bag choose Op. Zulu - Don't Compromise.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Maritime Security

Maritime security seems to be a burgeoning since the high profile kidnap and ransom cases off the coast of Somalia.  But Somalia is not the only hot spot for modern day piracy, areas of the the South China Sea are still pretty lawless and insurance companies are keen to protect the assets they insure with some extra muscle around the globe.

SSO positions are pretty popular with ex military personnel, especially former Marines and Navy seamen. The job is considered lower risk than CP work in Afghan or Iraq where pay and opportunities have decreased recently and the competency of insurgents in combat (or planting IEDs at any rate) has increased.

Ship Security can in fact be limited to recovering a vessel once the ransom has been paid and the pirates have retired to luxury islands with their ill gotten spoils!......Sometimes it's just easier that way. have picked out a small selection of Maritime Security Equipment on that page and have a full range of security clothing, bags, boots and pretty much everything on the rest of the site so check it out.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

DSEI - Defense and Security Equipment International

The Defense and Security Equipment International Expo is the largest military, security and law enforcement expo on the UK calendar. This Bi - Annual event is held at the London docklands Excel Center and takes up the entire compound for the 3 day event including the river.

The Expo is an excellent opportunity for companies to demonstrate their latest offerings in their respective defense or security industry, from semi conductors and micro components to battleships and artillery pieces as well as training and logistics services from around the globe.  No matter what your position, DSEI is a fascinating event for anyone in the industry, although it can appear a little daunting on the first day (and expect to get lost at least once) you will quickly gain an insight into market place.

As stated the event lasts 3 days, I only managed to attend for one as I had other commitments but there are so many companies exhibiting that it is worth at least 2 days of most peoples time.  As well as searching out some new and interesting suppliers it is also a good change to catch up and network with exiting military or security contracts.  The Defense and Security Equipment International expo offers a mix of hard business and an almost "Golf Course" atmosphere in which contacts can be made, maintained and strengthened as well as thrashing out deals and crunching numbers.

Tickets don't run cheap, but press can gain free access and exhibitors can often source discounted tickets for their guests.

All in all I highly recommend DSEI for any member of the industry related to armed forces, police and law enforcement or security services.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Dating for the police and army

Many of us working the in security or the uniformed services, be it police, army, navy, marines or air force.  The odd hours, the long periods away from home, the demands and sometimes stress, the confidential nature of the work etc. can all take their tole on a relationship and sometimes it is easier to relate to others who are also in a similar industry.  As such a niche dating website for those in uniform was borne and has burgeoned into a flourishing success.

Originally intended to target those actually in the army, or police or unformed security, the site soon attracted a following from uniformed aircrew and other uniformed professions which were included in to the sight demographic targets.  As the site continued to grow it caught the attention of civilians where were simply interested in dating someone from a military job or from the police service.

The site has become so popular to the public in fact that you may have seen their advertising on TV.  Take a look at the ads they are running:

And their Christmass ad:

They also did a series of videos with Kat Hodge, former Miss England and Serving Army Corporal who was "The Face" of check out that video here:

So if you are in the Army, Military, Police or Uniformed security or just interested in someone who is join today.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion, or "The Legion" as it is commonly known is one of the oldest charities providing welfare support for members of the armed services.  Most famous for its Poppy Appeal sold and worn on and around Remembrance Sunday, but The Legion raises money with activities throughout the year.  We even have a "Swear Jar" in our office where we pay a 50p fine into a Poppy shaped collecting tin every time we utter a profanity in the office.  The collection tin is then collected by ex RAF local member of the British Legion Riders branch every couple of weeks.

Like Help for Heroes The Legion has a range or merchandise alongside its Poppies and also accepts donations from any form of fund raising and you can donate your time as a volunteer helping out.

The Legion also maintains the National Memorial Arboretum.  The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK's year-round centre of Remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country. The Arboretum is part of The Royal British Legion family of charities.

As well as conducting detailed research into the condition of the ex-Service community in Britain and Europe (most recently in Spain) and have a long standing campaign on Gulf War Illnesses. 

If you would like to find out more The Legion's Public Policy Team produce a free e-newsletter. This bi-monthly alert provides an update on welfare rights, health, Government initiatives and the Legion's policy work and is a useful tool for anyone working in the Services welfare sector. Click here to subscribe.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Help for Heroes

Help For Heroes is probably one of the best known charities in the UK, providing help and support for servicemen and women (Despite the strapline "It's about the blokes") wounded in the current conflicts around the world. 

There are many ways that H4H raises money for its cause, the most popular way is through the sale of its tri coloured wrist bands, but there is a whole host of branded merchandise available from Help for Heroes from which the proceeds are used to care for the wounded.  Other popular methods are sponsored activities, like mountain climbs, bungee jumps, long distance runs or swims etc. in which the participants raise sponsorship for the activity and then donate to Help For Heroes.

The wrist bands in red, light and dark blue are seen on the arms of many celebrities, like His Royal Highness Prince William, HRH Prince Harry, David Beckham and many more and cost only £2.  The range of merchandise however covers everything from beach towels, cufflinks, key rings, T Shirts, pens, note pads, slippers, chocolate bars and chocolate drinks...... the list is endless.

You can also make a straight donation using one of the methods outlined on this page

So there are plenty of ways to show your support and the recipients really appreciate it, get involved today!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Police News

Not a kit review per se but a review of another website this time; Police Oracle the UKs top site for Police News and information.  Police Oracle is more than just a collection of police related stories from other websites, they have their own editorial team providing exclusive content and breaking news, as well as a busy forum to discuss all matters police and security and a jobs section too for current vacancies with police forces or private jobs which require ex police officers unique skills.

Police Oracle is also the home of the Police Raise a Million Campaign for the Help For Hero's Charity, tracking forces fund raising efforts across the UK and the official retailer of the "999" emergency services and "Police" pin badges (£3 each, all revenue goes to H4H).

Some of my favorite sections of the site are the Video News Archive and the Quirkies sections which also contains a lot of amusing videos, but probably the easiest way I have found to spend a few hours on the site it the cops capers.  Cops Capers are user submitted stories of real mishaps, mix-ups and capers experienced by officers from all strains of policing, be it regular, special constabulory, MOD, CNC, BTP or PCSOs.

So if you are a serving or ex officer why not head over and take a peek, I am sure there will be something for you to enjoy, and you never know there might be something useful to!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Buckle Up for a Belt Review

I remember many years ago the old plastic stable belts we were issued in cadets, useless for anything more than holding your trousers up at the best of times.  The alternative for exercise was the canvas webbing belt with its metal buckle and the holes through it for attaching the metal hooks of the pouches.  Fiddly as it was it was actually quite effective for what you needed it for.

These days tactical belts have improved a lot, from your special forces operator belts, MOLLE belt platforms and even ballistic protection blast belts to the Police Belts used by foot patrol officers of both police and security officers.

Personally I use a 5.11 Trainer belt for most of my day to day wear.  It's a 1 and 3/4 inch belt which is slightly thinner than the normal 2 inches that most tactical belts are, but it can be worn comfortably with a pair of jeans without looking too "tacleberry" in any situation.  Some people might prefer something like the 5.11 TDU Belt but I like the more substantial feel of the trainer belt with its solid metal buckle and re enforced construction it can support hundreds of kilograms of tension, more than I need to keep my trousers up but makes a suitable rigger belt if you need it for rope access work.  Not overly comfortable but will work in a pinch.  I recommend you check out the full range of 5.11 belts before you look too much further.

Another quick note on belts while we are about it is it the tri lock buckle if you work in policing or security you really need one of these to fasten your belt.  The beauty is it requires two hands (and some practice) to release the buckle and open the belt.  The problem with quick release belt buckles is that your, erm, opponent? Can simply reach out and with a quick squeeze release the mechanism and you find your whole belt kit round your ankles, not only making you look stupid, but putting your CS, Cuffs, Baton etc etc out of your reach at a crucial moment.

Other than those we have Leather Belts from the likes of Peter Jones which are not only a great duty belt but also make good parade or dress uniform two with the neat finish and shiny buckle.