IT IS very different from the long heavy tunics and top hats Britain’s first policemen wore.

Thames Valley Police are ditching their traditional bobby’s helmet.

From January next year, your local officer will go on the beat in a modern lightweight uniform featuring a black polo-style T-shirt, black combat trousers and a peaked cap.

They are trading in their more formal current attire of white shirt or blouse, black tie, black office trousers and the traditional pointed ‘custodian’ helmet.

The new look comes after complaints from officers, who felt the current uniform was outdated and not practical.

They said the shirt got dirty, was too difficult to iron and became transparent when it got wet.

Trials were held last year and the new uniform was well received — although a proposal to use baseball caps was dropped.

Ch Insp Dave Parker, who co-ordinated the uniform project, said: “We felt the baseball cap was a step too far away from the professional image the force wants to portray.

“The job involves a lot of movement, bending down looking for things, so the combat trousers are a more practical option. The white shirt also showed dirt more easily than the black one.

“A high percentage of women complained about the cut of the shirt, because they’re not quite as tailormade as they would be if they were buying a blouse for themselves from somewhere like Marks & Spencer.”

Angela Scott-Smith, a Colour Me Beautiful Image consultant from Wheatley, said: “Combat trousers aren’t flattering for everyone, as pockets on the leg don’t look good for those with shorter or dumpy legs.

“And it’s a shame they went for black shirts over a nice charcoal, which is much more flattering and isn’t as draining. But all in all, I think the choices they’ve made are the best options for practicality.”

Officers who are office-based will continue to wear the existing uniform, but those who do operational work will be able to request one set of the new uniform.