24 September 2006

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Well we've finally had PC Rain out and about on his/her patrols so the crime figures will finally look a bit better. However I for one will be glad to see it get a bit cooler at last.

Now bearing in mind to begin with that I am a ginger so any form of heat or sunlight is anathema to me anyway. Now add to that the "helpful" members of the public who smile at me and say "lovely weather!" when it's about 500 degrees Celcius out on foot patrol (yes, yes, I am one of those new (old) police who goes out more often than not on foot patrol rather than in a car) and I clearly look like a wrung-out dishrag desperately trying to stave off sunburn in my patrol area that seems to have no trees! and therefore a complete paucity of shade. But that's okay because they give you decent uniforms, right?

Well... let me tell you about the uniform almost entirely constructed of polyester:
The shirt - 65% polyester, the remainder, cotton. And forget man-made fibres that "wick away" sweat - the Job shirt is designed to retain as much moisture as it possibly can. It should really be used as a kitchen material to soak up spills.
The trousers - 60% polyester, the remainder wool. They select only the finest wool from the variety of sheep known as Super itchius legsius from the sheep equivalent of undernourished crack addicts. They then design the waist on the Simon Cowell model - if the waistline doesn't actually reach your boobs, they aren't the right size for you.
Pants - lovely - Marks and Spensive's best...mmm...
The cravat - fully 100% polyester
Footwear - again, fine because I buy my own - thanks very much, Job, I didn't really want a boot allowance anyway (you tight gits...)
The stab vest - phenomenally heavy to wear and designed for the ruination of good posture, these totally non-breathable items again are composed of a special heat- and moisture-retaining material that combines with the shirt [see above] to increase core temperature as much as possible in hot weather and yet be cold and clammy in cold weather. A miracle of crap engineering, the special misogynist design only accommodates women of AA cup size or below, despite purportedly being "bespoke" for safety purposes. For any women (or men) greater than an "A" cup, the front of the vest simply sticks out straight in front allowing maximum stomach/soft tissue exposure to whatever pointed/bladed object comes my way. The covert vest covers are naturally too small to fit the protective panels, leading to wrinkles that ruin the protective integrity of the structure; there is no such thing as a "high-vis" vest cover, so that in the height of summer if you want to stand out in a crowd/public order situation/busy road, you have to put on an extra thermal layer of high visibility over-jacket, again made of an insulating (but not waterproof - oh no!) material. This a particular joy for police cyclists, who only have a winter hi-vis, akin to a bright yellow duffel coat to wear, winter or summer, as they haven't sorted out a summer cycle uniform yet.
And finally, the lovely hat - again, chiefly made of plastic, but covered in a thick but water-loving felt that soaks the water up and then leaks it down the side of your head when it reaches saturation point, or collects it gutter-style only to tip it down your front as soon as your head leans forward. The hat is of a special 'sick-bowl' design, in black to soak up extra heat, with no ventilation holes anywhere for much-needed cool (or in fact any) air to circulate. And just in case that was too comfortable, there is no spongy layer or even leather band to soothe the fevered brow - the "designers" decided that a comfy or natural product might spoil us too much so they went instead for vinyl instead, which becomes scratchy in the heat. No part of the hat's inner can be removed for cleaning, so after a few days the smell is overpowering (and hair quite ruined!).

When asked to comment on the problems with uniform design, the Head of Uniform Services was heard to say, "So what? It's cheap, and I don't wear it so who gives a crap anyway??"*

So if you smile at a PC (or WPC - !!) in the street and say something like, "lovely weather!" when the sun is making scrambled eggs from their brains, do not be surprised if their heads explode, they scowl, or grimace at you, twitching dangerously; it's just that they're too bloody hot!

[*I made this up, but I imagine it's not so far from the truth]


Blogger Stan Still said...

A few years ago, our force decided that they would help us out by getting rid of the heavy cotton cover that holds the kevlar panels of the stab vest.

They replaced it with something that can only be described as a black bin bag, made out of some cheap nylon. It is not noticeably lighter, but considerably sweatier.

The male uniform is no better designed or made and at least you don't have to wear that silly big hat!

25 September, 2006 18:25  
Blogger Bitseach said...

Cheap nylon??? From the police???? Surey shome mishtake, indeed...

25 September, 2006 23:13  
Blogger gonorr said...

you forgot to mention, that like the armed forces, your kit was made by the lowest bidder.

Still, you all do an ace job.

28 September, 2006 22:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cleveland have 'high vis' yellow stab vets, instead of the more standard black. They look horrible as after a few months they are black anyway, due to the ground in dirt.

03 November, 2006 22:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the uniform issue,it took me a year to get a stab vest!!I also remember you from another (pre-police) forum,you may remember me as Sydney?I am coming up to my end of probation soon (desperately trying to write up my PDP !!)and I'm still loving it,I'll keep you book marked.

26 November, 2006 14:22  

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My views are my own and would probably not endear me to my dear employers.