Personal protection: Can these wearables help you fight crime?

Safety and security are the name of the game with these wearable tech devices

Safety, security and personal protection are ideas that go hand-in-hand with wearables, so it's of little surprise that there's been a boom in what's on offer when it comes to fighting crime. Whether male or female, cyclist or pedestrian, you'll find something available but are they really going to work?

We asked security and risk management specialist Edward Dunne to run his eye over the best that protection wearables have to offer. A double black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and Krav Maga but with his feet firmly planted in the practicalities of self defence in live situations, here's what our man of 30-years know-how had to say...

Money Belt

There are money belts and there are actual belts for holding your trousers up, but this one is both. Made from military spec nylon webbing, this loop comes with a secret stash pocket that's got space for 20 of your biggest notes before it starts to look like it's more than what it appears to be.

So, that's £1,000 that you can carry around in cash wherever you go while happily proffering the meagre contents of your wallet should you be unfortunate enough to be the victim of a mugging.

Ed says: Good idea. If you're out late at night or going into a dangerous area. Have some change - a fiver or so - in your pocket, give the mugger the, "that's all the money I've got," and that's probably all you'll lose.

£15.60, Money Belt


Get jumped by a hoodlum and dialling the police might no longer be an option. The idea behind Stiletto is to take the time out of that operation. It's effectively a panic button dressed up in a (fairly) tasteful piece of jewellery.

The module can be worn at the neck or on your wrist and it auto-calls an emergency service as soon as you press it which then alerts the police with your location and cry for help. It can also buzz specific contacts that you choose and it can even record audio for evidence. It takes only one second to raise the alarm and, should it be a false one, it's easy enough to call off the dogs.

Ed says: If a person is targeted and abducted and shoved in vehicle by the worst kind of predator that might keep them for days and torture them. In that sort of scenario, this would be very useful. But during an incident in dark alley, that's over in 30 seconds, not so much.

$199, Stiletto

Sap Cap

You won't want to stick around and use this hat to take on a guy with a knife but it might do just enough to buy you a moment for a getaway. The Sap Cap is normal cap but with a reinforced visor and a pouch at the back that's loaded with lead shot.

Whip it off your head and take it to your attacker's face in one motion to give them a nasty surprise, or use it to hammer in nails when you can be bothered to go out and find your toolbox.

Ed says: Anything that you can pick up from a desk, including a folder, can be a weapon. You don't have to go out and buy a cap. What's more, walking around with a lead-loaded baseball cap might cast doubt over any claims of self defence that you make. A credit card held in the hand, a pencil, a comb scraped across a face, car keys; those things are just as good.

$10, Sap Cap


Another wearable for lady crime fighters is the Siren ring. Like the name suggests, it's an audio deterrent that both blasts your attacker's eardrums with a 110dB sound (about the level of chainsaw) and alerts any passers-by to your hour of need too.

All you need to do to set it off is give it a twist and the emitters are pointed straight up to focus the force on your assailant and away from you.

Ed says: As humans, we're born with two fears - the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Every other fear is learned. So, yes, that will startle and shock the aggressor momentarily giving the individual time to run away. And it brings the scenario to other people's attention. So, not bad.

$199, Siren


Similar to Stiletto but a little more holistic is the approach from Cuff. The Cuff Link is a modular unit that fits into a wider - and probably more attractive - assortment of wrist and neck-worn jewellery. Instead of contacting the police, it will alert your contacts when you press it to indicate that you're in danger.

They get a buzz to their phones with your GPS location. It's holistic because it also works as an activity tracker and notifies you with any information from your mobile phone.

Ed says: Again, it's another good one for abduction and kidnapping, scenarios where you're held under duress. At least your friends can alert the emergency services in a more controlled manner.

$49, Cuff

Armstar Bodyguard

If you really want to get out there and pretend you're Batman (your idea, not ours), then you'd best bag yourself the Armstar Bodyguard. It's a pro-grade protection gauntlet for the police to record footage and serve up some nasty to the perps at the same time.

It docks your mobile device for the camera work but also houses stun gun so that you can zap hoods to your heart's content. Consumer models on the way.

Ed says: Not something I'd recommend for the UK market.

£TBC, Armstar

Bulletproof Flying Jacket

Yep, this good looking piece of clobber over at Spycatcher is tough enough to withstand anything up to a .44 handgun blast to the chest. It's a specially adapted MA1 Flying Jacket that's lined with Aramid Fibre, which offers the highest level of protection for soft armour.

It's covert, it's cool and we seriously hope you don't live a life in a place where you think you might actually need one.

Ed says: If you live in an environment where there's a high potential to be shot at, then I guess it's not a bad idea. Soldiers are trained to aim centre of visible mass but hard to say where other assailants might aim.

£870, Spycatcher

LED Flashing Armband

Should the crime in question be involuntary manslaughter, then this LED cuff will provide you plenty of means to help prevent it.

It's super cheap, easy to wear and has four flashing lights which velcro around your arm or leg that make sure that nobody can miss you whether you're cycling, jogging or even riding a horse in the winter dark.

Ed says: Good for road safety but I find it hard to say whether that be a deterrent muggers or not.

£3.37, Eight Rivers Security

PPSS knife-proof t-shirt

It looks utterly impossible but the lightweight fabric of this t-shirt is tough enough to stop you getting slashed with a knife - or suffer a Suarez-style bitt attack.

PPSS calls the material Cut-Tex Pro and it's attained the highest possible level of blade resistance. You can get it as a t-shirt, a vest, gloves or even a tracksuit top. Better than Kevlar; just watch the video.

Ed says: Prevalence of knife crime is an issue for the UK with many people carrying them now. So, there's obviously potential in something like this. Again, it depends on your environment. Probably a good idea if you're a security officer of sorts.

£99.95, PPSS


Vievu is the wearable camera of choice of police forces in over 16 countries around the world but this particular model is more suited for the safety conscious consumer. Clip it on and it captures and streams Full HD video to your phone for an hour and a half wirelessly. You can either store it there or broadcast it live to the service of your choice.

Either way, should you happen to encounter anything negative, you'll have all the evidence you need. Also comes with dash-mount for vehicular use.

Ed says: Body-worn cameras have been shown to be useful in managing conflict situations. In a something like a road rage incident, have the presence of mind to tell someone calmly that you are recording everything and it might be enough to help bring things to where you can resolve them. If not, a recording afterwards could, of course, be useful.

$349.99, Vievu

With 30 years in the business, Edward Dunne runs RISC Associates which specialises in delivering conflict resolution training, personal safety and security industry courses. They are available for consultancy, training and operational services.


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