Andy Harper’s morning show on BBC Radio Cambridge was discussing police uniforms this morning, with some listeners getting in touch complaining about scruffy police.
I joined in the discussion:
“One of our local policemen already gets himself dressed up like robocop with his tac-vest, armor, CS gas, baton, water bottle, three mobiles all flashing away on his chest; but its only going to get worse – there are proposals for Cambridgeshire to follow some areas of the country and have officers dressed in black T-shirts and baseball caps, and if no-one speaks up against they’ll soon all be carrying bright yellow TASERs. I think its important for police-public relations the police are smartly, consistently and appropriately dressed. There’s a place for the paramilitary get up but the streets of Cambridge in the summer isn’t it, I’d like to see my police in white shirts, stab vests if they think they need them, and traditional helmets – when was the last time you saw one of those?
In Cambridgeshire our PCSOs are dressed up almost exactly like police officers and I’ve seen numerous occasions where particularly older people have mis-identified them as police officers, elsewhere in the country PCSOs are much easier to identify. Also in Cambridge the PCSOs ride round on stolen or abandoned bikes which have been recovered by the police, and that particularly makes them look scruffy and detracts from their authority and credibility.”
A could have added my experience of a visit to Norwich shortly after PCSOs came in, and saw a pair of them. One too little I’d imagine for the real police, and the other too large, wearing trainers and with their shirts untucked. At least in Norwich they don’t dress up like police officers as they do in Cambridge, but even so they were a complete mess and a disgrase to the city and our country.