The riot control business is booming, and American police forces are increasing their purchase of such gear each year, according to market analysts at Sandler Research.
Demand for riot control systems and gear in the United States and Canada is forecast to grow at a rate of 4 percent a year through 2020, Sandler Research says.
“In North America, the prominent markets are Canada and the US and the law enforcement agencies in these nations are best equipped with the upgraded weapons,” a Sandler Research press release states. “The militarization of the police department and other law enforcement agencies in the Americas has encouraged the use of advanced riot control equipment.”
A major driver of the demand for new riot equipment is the fear of disturbances like those in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri. Another is the fear of violence surrounding events like the presidential election.
The city of Cleveland has plans to purchase 2,000 suits of Elite Defender Armor manufactured by a Colorado company called HWI for the Republican convention. The Elite Defender can protect police or soldiers from baseball bats, bricks and bottles, HWI co-founder Isaac Hatch told CNN Money. The Cleveland police are also seeking 24 sets of bulletproof armor, shields, batons and 2,500 steel barriers, according to CNN.
Demand for Riot Armor is Growing
Business is good at HWI, which manufactures both the Elite Defender and a bulletproof armor called the Armor Express, CNN reported. Hatch said his company had received 1,000 preorders for Elite Defenders even before it went into production this Spring.
The Elite Defender; which looks similar to Samurai armor, protects the breast, groin, arms and boots. It also contains a visor helmet to protect a cop’s head.
Hatch said he tests the armor by letting his brother beat him with a baseball bat. The Hatches refuse to sell armor to the public.
Other riot gear that is in demand includes drones, armored vehicles, water cannons, batons and barriers designed to protect police or buildings from rioters, Sandler Research reported.
And it’s not just the United States. Sandler Research said that “Iran, Egypt, Russia, China and Thailand” have started procuring riot control equipment.
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