The unsung hero of policing – the dependable, hardworking police duty belt – deserves some accolades for services rendered.
Every year it is lumped with more work containing the extending girth of an increasingly middle-aged police force and there is always a new tool to find room for.
Children (and sometimes grown-ups) often ask what’s on the belt – so for curiosity’s sake the Tardis-like belt contains (in my case):
Handcuffs – people always want to put them on, but unless they’re regularly cleaned you’re sharing bugs/bits of skin with unsavoury characters that have gone before.
Extendable metal baton – in 2001 replaced the old wooden baton kept down the trouser-leg pocket, which when I started policing was the only weapon (or tactical option in modern speak) available at most jobs.
Small LED torch – replaced the heavy metal Maglite torch in 2011. It has more luminosity but lacks in “heft”, meaning it no longer doubles as a backup baton.
A Glock pistol holster clip introduced in 2012 to speed up getting armed.
Personal protection kit – pouch containing rubber gloves and CPR mask I’ve never yet had the presence of mind to use when giving CPR.
A multi-tool used for a wide variety of things. On my first time using it I used the knife function to hurriedly cut a seatbelt to get someone out of a car crash and I sliced off a decent part of my finger in the rush.
Pepper spray – recently upgraded in strength with manufacturer’s claim it’s 67 times stronger than “hot sauce” with the active ingredient capsaicin (active component of chilli peppers).
I volunteered as the baddie for a display of its use when it was introduced in 1997 and I won’t be that dumb again.
Most cops have had a dose of its effectiveness at some stage usually because of a colleague’s bad aim.
Taser – introduced routinely in 2015, the 50,000-Volt stun gun is fashionably bright yellow to visually stand out, as an offender’s knowledge of its presence reduces the propensity for violence markedly.
Surely only the busiest of builders have belts this busy!
The belts enable us to carry a plethora of options to keep up with the crims, and have modern “on hand” tools, resulting in considerably fewer injuries for both offenders and cops compared with the old days of the physical, stand-up stoush that some arrests involved.