SINGAPORE: Frontline police officers will get new uniforms starting next Monday (Apr 16) to help them keep cool in Singapore's hot and humid weather, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) announced on Wednesday.
Made of 98 per cent polyester and 2 per cent spandex, the new uniforms are more stretchable, absorb perspiration better and dry faster, SPF said. The old uniforms were fully made of polyester.
The change is part of ongoing efforts to improve officers’ operational effectiveness and support them in their work, SPF said.
The new uniforms will also have the word “police” embroidered above the name tag. The metallic buttons will also be replaced by more comfortable concealed plastic buttons, which will make it easier for officers to wear body vests over their uniforms.
Riveted buttons will be fixed on the shoulders for a bodycam attachment.
The uniforms were designed in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Science and Technology Officer (OCSTO), a unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs that works with Home Team departments to develop and deploy technologies.
OCSTO conducted two trials, one comparative and another operational, to test the new designs.
During the comparative trial, first conducted in 2013, eight frontline neighbourhood police officers donned the new uniform while carrying out light duties like foot patrols and driving the patrol car.
The officers' body temperatures were analysed to compare heat dissipation between the two uniforms.
Officers wearing the new shirts found to have lower body temperatures by up to about 1 degree Celsius compared to the old shirts. The officers also said the new shirts felt thinner, cooler and lighter.
However, the new pants fared about 0.5 degree Celsius worse than the old pants. This led to a thinner construction and the removal of additional front pockets and knee pads.
After that, an operational trial started in 2015 saw 54 neighbourhood police officers at Ang Mo Kio North NPC take questionnaires and participate in feedback sessions. The results confirmed those in the comparative trial, the police said.
UNIFORMS LAST CHANGED IN 1985
The police last made a major change to their uniforms in 1985, when they went from a three-quarters polyester one-quarter cotton make-up, to full polyester. This made the uniforms stiffer.
When asked why this change was made only now, an SPF spokesperson said: “In this current context, we are always looking to move forward in some of our operations. And the betterment of the uniform is one way the police force is trying to move forward."
The new uniforms have been distributed to all frontline officers, including full-time national servicemen trainees in the Home Team Academy.
As for the old uniforms, the spokesperson said: "We'll most probably call them back and we'll most probably try and recycle them.
"As with all new changes there will be some teething issues, but we are committed (to ensuring) all our frontline officers will be wearing new uniforms," he added.