changing timeson the beat

A pair of handcuffs, a truncheon and a whistle were for many years the essential tools of an officer on the beat.

Today’s officer wears a stab vest and most of their equipment on a duty belt, which will include two pairs of handcuffs, a radio, a torch, pepper spray and possibly a Taser stun gun, while the truncheon has been replaced by an extendable baton, or ASP.

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Many UK police forces began with a uniform of a swallow-tail coat and top hat, which were replaced by helmets in the 1860s to offer protection against attack and the weather. A nationally standardised uniform was not introduced until 1994.