Restore the old police uniform

Two policeman in formal uniform

Until 1994 police officers were known around the world for the old fashioned "British Bobby" look. It was smart, professional and made the police very approachable. However, the blazer, tie and smart trousers look has been replaced for front-line duty with what is now a called a "working dress". This includes high visibility jackets, stab vests and in some cases combat trousers. Besides from not looking terribly smart, the new uniform alienates the police from the public, they look more and more like a paramilitary force and are less approachable. Proponents of the new uniform will argue that the old dress is inflexible and unsafe for modern day policing however, this uniform has served the police well in far more turbulent times e.g. The Troubles. And police forces across the United States who, it could be argued have a far more dangerous do not see the need for a high visibility jackets and stab vests. Perhaps more worrying is the mentality behind  the adoption of this uniform, which suggests a fear and distrust of members of the public, this in turns leads to a lack of respect towards the police in general, who are seen as infantile and ineffective at engaging with their local community. 

Its time to scrap this New Labour "health and safety" relic and start making our police the envy of the world again.

Why does this idea matter?

Restores trust between the community and police

Makes the police less threatening by creating a more traditional “Dixon of Dock Green look”

Raises the visibility of proper police officers

Creates a smart impression for visitors to this country

Reminds officers that they are not a paramilitary militia, but public servants

14 Comments on Restore the old police uniform

  1. Robert Scriven | 18/04/2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply

    Good idea. Yesterday at Baroness Thatcher’s funeral it was nice to see the police (mostly) in their proper smart uniforms. It looks so much better than the “action man” look that is normally prevalent.

  2. I’ve been looking for a thread like this for ages! I completely agree and we need more people to support the idea, perhaps one day our plea may be heard!

  3. It has been changed! Apparently you can have minor cautions removed; it’s only things like assault and sexualised things that stay on. It has been changed in the last few months. I came across this thread whilst trying to find how to remove it. I understand that calling the police constabulary that issued it is probably best but wanted to get some background reading.

  4. E-Petition someone should start one!

  5. -Bump-

  6. US police are different for 2 reasons.
    1. They wear their stab/ballistic vest under their shirt
    2. They carry a sidearm at all times

    Does anybody genuinely think that wearing a tunic would induce respect?

    Just as the fire brigade uniform has changed from the tunic and the ambulance has uniform has changed from the tunic, so too have the police changed.

    The uniform is outdated.

    PS the idea that the uniform is becoming ‘paramilitary’ is ridiculous. The ‘traditional uniform’ of a tunic, shirt, tie and custodian with parade shoes is about as military as you can get!

  7. Jack, Psychological studies have proven that uniform has a massive effect on how officers are seen; the police force in England was created not only to protect and support the public, but to look respectable when they do it.

    There is no reason why Police nowadays have to wear the god-awful high-vis jackets, and yes the paramilitary outfit, I mean surely, looking as if you’ve just parachuted down from a helicopter, with a heavy stab vest above a utility belt even sometimes with a cap, a bloody cap on their heads; can’t be more efficient in fighting crime, than a shirt and tunic?
    All they have to do is make the tunic out of breathable material and supply a slim vest under the tunic.

    But no, they spend thousands of pounds supplying them with disgusting thug like uniforms that aren’t in any way acceptable to be worn by the Police.

    Not only that, but depending on what you put the Police in, has a direct affect on how they act.

  8. I actually want to join the Met and i am happy that they have kept their shirts and ties, BUT i do not like the stab vest AT ALL. it make an officer look scruffy. i prefer the uniforms in the 1980s and 90s. i woul love to sign a petition for it but to be honest i think that uniform wont return in any of our life time. i wish that other forces start wearing white shirts that are fit for duty instead of these horrible BLACK zip up polo shirts.

  9. Martin Collier | 30/10/2016 at 11:39 am | Reply

    I entirely agree Jamie. Surely it cannot be beyond the wit of man, especially with the latest textiles, to create a uniform that is both safe for officers and presents a professional appearance? Appearance matters; a scruffy individual suggests a scruffy state of mind. Leo is on the button with his comments about polo shirts. Hi-viz jackets are for use on the road, not as a default garment. While we’re at it, collar number visible at all times please..

  10. Surely the home office or the goverment can advise police forces to smarten up. The only forces that i know that still wear white shirts and ties is the Met, merseyside police and the forces policing the british overseas territories. If it wasnt for bloody scotland these SWAT uniforms wouldnt be here. Surely one officer would want to take pride in their appearance, they look bloody scary and unaproachable i say bring back shirts and ties and smarter trousers. Hi vis should only be worn at large events or at late night crime scenes.

  11. I questioned young people about police uniforms.
    They have respect for police in uniforms and helmets, slightly less respect for uniforms with flat hats, and they hate the ‘Bastards in track suit bottoms, jackets and baseball caps’.

    With some of the police ‘semi uniforms’ it can be difficult to distinguish a police officer from other ‘officers’ .

    After asking two London ‘police officers’ for directions, I noted the word ‘Security’ on their backs and not ‘police’ .

  12. Blazers and ties are suitable for office workers, not for searching crack houses, trampling through hedges in parks and fields, standing on cordons all night or fighting drunks. Police have the right to practical uniforms and decent modern safety equipment. The perception of the public is totally irrelevant. No one has any right to make police officers, who are already overworked and underpaid, do long freezing cold night shifts in absurd 1970 uniforms. If the military can modernise their uniforms the police absolutely have the same right.

    • Execept from LGBT which has currently made 2 police forces introduce gender “neutal” hats just to please about 5 officers in a force of about 1,000 absolutely pathetic and a waste of time. Yet THAT is allowed to change the uniform of police forces.

  13. Karl Wright | 18/07/2018 at 3:07 pm | Reply

    For police duties such as drug raids and night time anti thuggery patrols then yes..wear the body armour, vests, hi-viz, combat boots and equipment belt. But for normal routine patrolling and saying ‘hello’ wear the smart uniform like they used to. Where I live is fairly quiet by day and the night isn’t mayhem either. The uniform makes a massive difference in how people percive the police. But even seeing an approachable bobby is rare these days. They all look like they don’t care if the public wants to interact with them.

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