There have been very few major changes to our police uniforms since 1862. The changes that did occur were done with one eye on tradition and the other on practicality.
Photograph from 1910 shows kepi cap worn in that era.
The uniform worn in 1862 was made of heavyweight pure wool fabric. It continued in its basic form until 1916 when the kepi caps (flat caps with peaked sun visors) were replaced with a smarter military style cap.
The military peaked cap (as worn today) was the distinguished feature of the 1916 change, along with the summer optional white pith helmet.
The next major change was in 1946 (again the influence of war) when an open tunic and tie were introduced.
From 1916 police were given a summer uniform of long sleeve shirt and tie, that exposed their appointments for the first time.
The latest major change occurred in 1972/73 when the insignia badge and checker band feature on the cap were introduced along with a lighter shade of blue. 1974 saw the introduction of a wool/polyester material for trousers.
Uniforms for specialist officers have also been developed. Leather jackets and breeches were the fashion of the 1980’s for motorcycle officers, a more formal uniform of white breeches and blue, slightly flared jackets were introduced in early 1987.
Uniforms have also been modified and extended to include wet weather protection, yellow safety gear, specialised diving suits and snow gear.
Women officers began wearing culottes in April 1982 allowing greater mobility and comfort when engaged in physically active situations.