FAKE Body Armour

Do you wear BPE as part of your job and feel safe? The above plate which was Inspected and tested by Echelon International Ltd for an international security provider in a high threat operational environment is a fake….do you still feel safe?

The Problem

Our client was unsure about the condition of several hundred sets of BPE certified to NIJ Level IV on a project in a very high threat environment. The sets of BPE had all the paper credentials and markings to suggest they were genuine items but the supply chain was new and untested.

The above plate was one of many BPE sets belonging to that batch tested that failed in a controlled environment, in fact all sets tested failed.

It is pretty easy to see that if this was struck whilst worn by you or one of your colleagues or clients that there would be a very high risk of injury and death as the end result with further and wider reaching legal and financial consequences.

The effect on the client is that:

They do not have safe and client compliant equipment which is going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace in time to achieve their readiness and contractual compliance for their clients in what was an avoidable situation.

The Cause

Unfortunately, the cause is not so easy to determine as the effect but more than likely due to one or a combination of the following:

Poor education of the supply chain by upstream and downstream parties to evaluate and select safe and compliant equipment and security service providers.

Pressure on those in the supply chain to award on price rather than technical compliance.

Markets for counterfeit products are allowed to flourish where the potential for corruption, lack of compliance or quality checks by parties in the supply chain exist.

The Solution

Create an effective and relevant Procurement and Equipment Care Directive.

The Education and Training of the supply chain and equipment account holders in the benefits of solid and proven Supply Chain Management and Equipment Care practices.

Periodic validation by qualified and competent third parties to monitor and review best practices are actually being carried out.


Although this advisory Equipment Care inspection from Echelon International Ltd quickly highlighted the fake BPE, the equipment was already on site and in the potential supply chain. This could have been averted earlier in the procurement cycle with a combination of supply chain training and product evaluation provided by a qualified and competent 3rd party such as Echelon International.

If you hold or use BPE and would like reassurance that your BPE is fit for purpose before, during and post procurement do get in touch for a confidential discussion on how we can support your needs at info@echelon-international.com

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