Metropolitan Police equipment belt
Equipment belt issued to Metropolitan Police officers, UK, in the late 1990s, consisting of a webbing belt, pouches for baton, cs spray canister, handcuffs and documents, one inert cs incapacitant spray canister, one gravity-friction-lock baton, one pair of Hiatt Quickcuffs and key and one personal protection kit containing gloves, decontaminant wipes and disposal bag in pouch.
This is representative of the kit provided to the Metropolitan Police in London, England in the 1990s. Police kit has changed since then, with the most recent addition of the taser introduced to specialist forces in 2003 before being widely rolled out across England & Wales in 2008. The equipment belt may differ across England, with forces catering to their specific needs. Equipment carried by an officer would also vary depending on their mode of transport, with police vehicles able to carry more bulky items such as a first aid kit, breathalyser and traffic cones.
Early police forces were equipped with little more than a rattle – or later a whistle - and a truncheon. The baton remains in the equipment kit to this day, varying in design depending on the force. Whilst some items have maintained their position, modern police kit offers a wide range of equipment in comparison, expanding with technology and contemporary concerns. For example, personal protection kits are now included to address concerns for personal safety and hygiene. Some of the contents are not legal for the public to carry as they are considered weapons, such as the CS spray and batons.