Seales: New police uniforms harder to copy

The Police Social and Welfare Association has again proposed a change of police officers’ uniforms.

Members of the association yesterday met with newly-appointed Police Commissioner Gary Griffith and divisional commanders of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) over the proposal, which arose out of previous discussions with Griffith over the need to rebrand the service.

In a telephone interview after the meeting, association’s president Insp Michael Seales said: “We want to leave the old uniform in the past because it has a lot of historical disdain over the current uniform. So when we rebrand we are doing so fresh.”

Seales said the proposed uniforms, which he claimed were well received by Griffith and other senior officers, have technical features that make them harder to replicate by criminals.

“They are particularly designed for the TTPS, so it is not like a person can easily purchase one. It would take a police officer to actually lend a person the uniform,” Seales said.

In addition to a unique design, the uniforms also have features which make them more practical for tropical climates.

“There are some perforated holes running from under the arm to the end of the stomach, which allows air to go into the shirt and be trapped, so it keeps the officers cooler. It is almost essentially waterproof because it dries quickly,” Seales said.

He also claimed the new uniforms would be more cost-effective.

“The uniforms actually cost far less than what we are using at this time. Just the silver button alone carries up the cost of the uniforms astronomically,” Seales said as he claimed the uniforms are “wash and wear” and would allow officers to robe and disrobe within 10 to 15 seconds.

The uniforms will also feature standardised footwear for officers which was selected based on comfort for officers.

Asked whether the new uniforms are similar to those proposed under the tenure of former police commissioner Dwayne Gibbs in 2012, Seales said there were differences. He also admitted that the previous proposal failed due to a failure to get Government approval.

“We would have tried our best to advocate for the change also but we found that what happened is that with changes in ministers there was a change in direction on the objectives,” he said.

In addition to the uniforms, the association also prosed that police identification cards be replaced by metal badges such as those used by international police forces such as the New York Police Department (NYPD). Seales said the badges would help eliminate police impersonators and would feature an electronic chip which would assist in emergency situations.

“There is also technology in those badges where we can store data, including medical history, enter and exit history into buildings, overtime billing and history of what officers are trained in,” he said.

- by Derek Achong