Changing image of bobbies on the beat.

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POLICE uniforms have come a long way since the top hats and wooden rattles sported by bobbies in the 19th century - and now officers in West Yorkshire are preparing for another change.

In the latest evolution to policing attire in the county, the force is to trade in its white shirts and ties for tops made from lightweight black fabric.

West Yorkshire Police supplied picture of West Yorkshire Police chief constable Mark Gilmore.

West Yorkshire Police supplied picture of West Yorkshire Police chief constable Mark Gilmore.

Bosses say the new shirts are “more suitable for the day-to-day rigours of active duty” and will be more comfortable worn under body armour.

The force is introducing the new black uniform for rank and file officers after first trying them out on senior officers, including chief constable Mark Gilmore, from last year.

It will replace the white shirts most officers currently wear while on duty and bring the force into line with others around the country.

Deputy Chief Constable Dee Collins of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Due to their dark colour the new shirts are more suitable for the day-to-day rigours of active duty than white shirts.

“They are also made of lightweight fabric making them practical and cooler to wear under body armour. The roll out will continue over the next few months and officers will increasingly be seen our streets in the new uniforms.”

She added: “Many other forces have also adopted this uniform style which also assist us when working on mutual aid operations.”

West Mercia Police was the first in England to drop the traditional uniform for front-line work in favour of something more comfortable, making the change in 2007.

Other forces have since followed suit, with North Yorkshire Police bringing in’ moisture control shirts’ in early 2012. South Yorkshire Police moved to black lightweight shirts five years ago and are now on the same uniform contract as West Yorkshire.

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