Submitted by RUSerious
Within recent times the Police have been unable to recruit suitable candidates to fill the vacancies which presently exist. A number of theories have been posited by various internal and external sources within the society, some of which were low salaries, and unfavourable conditions, terms and benefits of service. As the Administration of the Force seeks to address these perceived issues in collaboration with Government, another aspect that they have often overlooked is the image of the Force.
By image I am referring to the uniform worn by members. Having conducted enquiries of a number of young persons, nearly all were in agreement that they disliked the uniform of the Police and did not wish to wear it. They stated also that since the majority of Police Officers are uniformed Officers having to wear it upon enlisting is unavoidable. A number of persons stated that they have been told by friends within the Force that the uniform is uncomfortable and hot, and that if they joined the Force they would prefer to be in the Task Force.
As the duties of Police have become increasingly challenging, Officers must carry more equipment to deal with varying situations and protect themselves and members of the public. As a result many major Police Forces in the United Kingdom have made certain changes to their duty uniforms to enhance the attractiveness, comfort and capability of the uniform to carry certain equipment.
With these reasons at the forefront of their minds, major Law Enforcement Agencies in the United Kingdom within recent years have either changed or altered their uniforms to adapt to the evolution of Police duties. Agencies such as the major Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London are in the process of designing an all new uniform to be deployed from 2012, in addition to constant alterations made in recent years. Presently the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is in the process of producing new uniforms which were designed in 2010.
Consideration must be given to several factors for the uniform of the Royal Barbados Police Force. Firstly it should have style and flare while remaining its professional appearance. Consideration should be given to an equipment vest which can hold equipment rather than all equipment being placed on the belt, which many police have complained are the main cause of chronic back pain and injury after a number of years. The uniform should be comfortable suit our climate.
In my opinion the uniform does not require significant change in colour, but perhaps the only material of the clothing itself, and the addition of an equipment vest. The MPS solved this issue by adding a stab-proof vest as their equipment vest, which not only afforded their Officer’s more protection but also provided more room to comfortably and safely carry various equipment.
Now some of you out there will say change the uniform? I love it! Keep it. But yeah you aren’t joining the Force and the people who don’t like it, are the ones the Police need and who are not joining. Now you will say well it’s a trivial issue, but when you are required to wear a uniform for more than 8 hours every day, it must be comfortable, and in this day and age it must appeal to your image. Would anyone join the Police if they walked around dressed like super man? No because they would look ridiculous, so the uniform and the image is important. We can hold on to our silly colonial ideals of looking like Captain Farmer in uniform, or we can deploy a contemporary uniform to make the overall package look attractive to young persons. Various people are attracted to the Police for various reasons, but for whatever reason most people choose, they still become good Police Officers.