A PRISON officer stabbed by a triple-murderer is backing a campaign for protective T-shirts to be worn by prison officers.
Craig Wylde, from Seaham, was assaulted at Frankland High Security Prison on March 13, 2010, by Kevan Thakrar, 24, with a broken bottle.
Craig believes the severity of his injury would have been reduced if he had been issued with a cut and slash-resistant T-shirt.
The 30-year-old said: “I would not be in the condition I am today if I’d had that protection. It’s ridiculous what I’m going through, if I’d been wearing that vest I would have had a few cuts, nowhere near the nerve and tendon damage I have.”
Craig was left with a severed artery in his left arm after the incident, and is taking 30 tablets per day to cope with the physical and psychological pains. He has also been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The cut and slash resistant T-shirts or PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) tops are made from a fabric that is being used to manufacture cut and slash-resistant clothing for law enforcement, military, prisons and other homeland security agencies all over the world.
Craig said: “I think it would be a massive boost in morale for prison guards. It would show that the Government appreciates the difficult job they do and it would give them the confidence that when they are at work they have that extra security.
“I’m not saying it will eliminate the risk, but it will reduce it.
“I have family and friends in the force and I would not push for something unless I knew it would work.”
The vests cost £90 each and Craig is eager to convince the Government to introduce the tops for prison officers across the country.
“It works, it ticks the boxes of reasons why they said they would not have them. They are discreet and can be worn under a shirt.
“If they are unwilling to have them, they have set a cost on a prison guards life at £90.”
Robert Kaiser is CEO at PPSS Group, which makes high-performance body armour and has made the cut-resistant T-shirts.
He said: “There is no doubt in my mind, concealable cut and slash-resistant T-shirts, comfortably worn underneath a prison officer’s shirt, and not aggressive looking at all, will help reduce the risk of workplace violence-related injuries within prison facilities.”
“What has happened to Craig Wylde has now happened. He knows only too well that we cannot turn back the time.
“However, we both feel very strongly that something must be done, otherwise we will soon look at another fatality within this sector, which could be prevented by the issuing of the right type of PPE.”