New uniform will help police officers beat the heat


They will still be the officers in blue, but from Monday, all Singapore Police Force (SPF) ground officers will don uniforms made of a new fabric designed to better deal with the heat and humidity.

Made of 98 per cent polyester and 2 per cent spandex, it dries faster and has better sweat absorption capabilities.

The new uniform - to be worn by police national servicemen and voluntary special constabularies as well - includes hidden plastic buttons in place of the metallic buttons on the current uniforms.

The hidden buttons make it more comfortable for officers to wear body vests over their new uniforms. The word "POLICE" is embroidered on the right chest of the uniform.

The design and fabric changes came after discussions with the Ministry of Home Affairs' Office of the Chief Science and Technology Officer, and were made for "improved breathability, comfort and lightness".

"This is part of SPF's capability and equipment enhancement programme. The changes to the uniforms will enable our officers to operate more effectively and comfortably in local humidity," said a police spokesman.

This is the first uniform revamp for the police force since 1985.

The new uniform has two iterations - a long-sleeved version, which will be worn by specialist units, and a short-sleeved one, which will be donned by ground response forces.

The design went through two test runs. The first trial in 2013 involved front-line officers performing foot patrols and driving patrol cars while dressed in the new uniform.

The officers' body temperatures were then analysed to compare heat dissipation with the old all-polyester uniform as opposed to the new one.

Officers decked in the new shirts were found to have a body temperature that was 1 deg C lower than that of the officers wearing the old shirts.

The officers also gave feedback that the new shirts were cooler, lighter and less stiff.

But the new trousers did not fare so well with the officers, with those wearing them recording a body temperature that was about 0.5 deg C higher.

To resolve this, extra front pockets and knee pads were removed from the design.

The second trial in 2015 surveyed 54 officers from Ang Mo Kio North Neighbourhood Police Centre.

Their responses confirmed that the new uniform was more suited for Singapore's hot and humid climate, said police.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'New uniform will help police officers beat the heat'. Print Edition | Subscribe