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PSNI get new uniform makeover in bid to modernise service

Northern Ireland’s frontline are ditching ties as they hit the streets in new uniforms.

Frontline officers in Northern Ireland have been given a makeover as part of their force’s modernisation drive.

Shirts and ties have been consigned to the lockers and replaced with the same style of wicking tunics and trousers as other UK forces. The main difference for PSNI is the bottle green colour.

It comes just days after the PSNI confirmed officers will also be issued with thousands of laptops and appointments to senior posts.

The new uniforms, for officers up to the rank of Superintendent, are part of the overhaul led by Chief Constable Simon Byrne that is moving the force away from its past including bike patrols and plans to close fortified stations built in the era of The Troubles.

A group of 150 officers spent three months last year trialling out the new kit before it got the green light.

But the new attire nearly didn’t get ordered after a challenging consultation last summer led to rows over proposals for a new force emblem which pulled in the Justice minister.  

CC Byrne had been keen to move away from the acronym PSNI and instead use ‘police’ in as many references as possible. The new logo is being used on social media instead.

And former officers said the decision to ditch white shirts was a step too far and warned older people would confuse the officers with lycra-clad cyclists “dandering about”.

But two decades on from the force’s creation, the need to modernise won over.

CC Byrne said: “The previous uniform has been in existence since the formation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. It served our officers well, but it is right that we reviewed how effective it was 20 years on. 

“Reviewing the uniform has been an important part of our commitment to ensuring our officers and staff are provided with a safe, comfortable and high quality uniform in order to allow them to do their job of serving our communities,” he said.

CC Byrne also pointed out that official and community groups had been consulted ahead of the decision to shoe the force had been listening.

He added: “A lot of work has gone into planning and seeking feedback around the new uniform. I believe the new uniform will help us to enhance the visible, accessible and responsive service we seek to provide to the community.”

The officers who will be getting the new kit gave it the thumbs up.

Superintendents said it was “modern, comfortable and practical”.

The force’s Federation said the rebrand was long overdue: “A modern and fit for purpose uniform which our frontline colleagues have been asking for over many years. Great to see it finally on issue.”

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