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Police Fashions Up With the Times
by Kofl Akumanyi
Photography Dave Kendall

Visitors to northwest England will be the first to see the British police officer's familiar tunic and helmet updated to a more practical blouson-style jacket and newly designed trousers. The new uniforms will be on the job this March and signal a systematic modernisation of the attire and equipment of the UK's forces. Chief Constable David Wilmot says: ''The nature of the job has changed so much that the type and style of uniform had to be reviewed.

The updated clothes, which replace the traditional uniform introduced in 1863, are the result of months of consultations with the officers who will wear it. Early versions of the designs were tested for six months by some 60 officers before a final decision was made.

PC Diane Livsey is pictured modelling the uniform that will first be adopted by the Greater Manchester police. A choice of skirts, culottes or trousers is available to policewomen. The blouson is made from a lightweight, waterproof, breathable fabric and the trousers and skirts - while looking the same as the traditional wear - are now a polyester/wool fabric. Helmets and women's bowlers are also to be replaced. The blouson will also accommodate the wearing of covert protective body armour.      Copyright ©1999, LLC