New PSNI uniforms ‘make police look like cyclists’ claims ex-officer as force insists they’re green – not black

The PSNI’s new more casual style of uniform makes officers look like lycra-clad cyclists, one former officer has claimed.

Monday, 19th October 2020, 8:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 9:16 am

Whilst the Police Federation, representing rank-and-file officers, says it is “fully supportive” of the “comfortable” outfits, others view them as too casual.

There is also disagreement over whether the uniform is black or very, very dark green.

The PSNI describes its current standard-issue uniforms, which the new ones would replace, as follows:

“A white shirt, a tie, green epaulettes (the shoulder badges denoting rank), green trousers.”

Police today released a video showing slender male and female police officers wearing the new uniforms.

They resemble sports tops, in that they are polyester, and have a zip on their chest.

Ross Hussey, a police reservist from 1977 until injury forced him to retire in 2002, was among those venting their dislike for the uniform on Twitter.

The new uniforms

Mr Hussey (an ex-UUP MLA who was also chairman of the RUC part-time officer welfare group) said: “I understand for operational reasons there may be a need to modernise.

“But for beat patrols and neighbourhood, standard uniform with shirt, tie, and cap should be retained...

“Many older people would not recognise that as a police uniform; could be cyclists dandering about.

“Plus, those baseball hats are not appropriate for beat patrols – if you ask me a proper cap should be worn.”

When one Twitter user said traditional police headgear is prone to falling off during the rough-and-tumble of handling suspects, Mr Hussey said: “I wore one for 26 years –never fell off, and I was at quite a few handlings.”

Mr Hussey suggested it may be “rifle green perhaps – a really dark green, almost black”. Justice minister Naomi Long likewise said they were green.

The PSNI itself describes them as “bottle green”, saying they are identical in colour to the current uniform.

Jim Gamble, the outspoken former police officer from Northern Ireland (who helped found the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) said: “The green uniform was an important differentiator and I hope it remains.

“The Lycra look may work well for some but not for others; I’d be like the Michelin Man.

“I’ve seen lots of uniform changes in policing, some for change sake, and some to better equip specialist officers. Time will tell.”

None of the police in the video are wearing body armour or carrying guns; when asked if officers will still do both, the PSNI said: “Yes, in the interests of keeping officers safe, they will continue to be equipped with the appropriate equipment.”

The PSNI said it could not give an indication of the cost of outfitting all officers in the new uniform, because that will depend on the outcome of the trial.

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