Brazil unveils ‘Robocop’ suit to protect super-elite police unit during World Cup
The National Post | May 14, 2014
There will be a RoboCop style to the face of policing in Rio when football fans turn up for the World Cup in Brazil next month.
Members of a special unit set up for the tournament and the 2016 Olympics in Rio have been given 200 sets of the 22lb “RoboCop” protective equipment, which is flame resistant to up to 427C.
It includes a helmet and vest that protects the back, chest and shoulders, plastic shin pads, a pepper spray mask and a belt for a.40 calibre pistol, stun gun, handcuffs and baton.
The Major Events Police Battalion, a branch of the military police, was formed in January this year in response to widespread public demonstrations during last year’s Confederations Cup.
That tournament was marred by ugly clashes between police and demonstrators as thousands protested against public spending on the World Cup. Rio de Janeiro will host seven games during the competition, including the final on July 13.
Jose Mariano Beltrame, the state secretary for security, cited “the need to give the military police specialized, efficient and intelligent instruments for patrolling, aimed at the preservation of public order in public places where there is the presence of a crowd of people gathered together”.
Lt. Col. Wagner Villares, the commander of the unit, which has 600 officers, said the equipment would protect officers from missiles such as a firecracker that killed Santiago Andrade, a photographer, earlier this year.
“The plastic uniform is resistant to knocks and blows,” he told news website Ultimo Segundo.