Police Equipment Guide for 2023

Police officers encounter a wide array of challenges on a weekly basis, making their reliance on various types of police equipment a critical aspect of their safety and effectiveness. This comprehensive guide delves into the equipment, tools, vehicles, and technology utilized by law enforcement personnel.

Additionally, we explore the rigorous training that officers undergo to proficiently use these tools, as well as provide recommendations for individuals in law enforcement or security professions seeking to enhance their equipment inventory.

Essential Gear Basics

Understanding the essential equipment for police officers in the UK is paramount. It offers valuable insights into their daily tasks and the challenges they face.


At the core of the UK police equipment list is the standard-issue police uniform. In England and Wales, male constables and sergeants on foot patrol often sport the iconic custodian helmet, while female officers wear a similar version known as the bowler helmet.

The uniform typically comprises a dark-colored shirt adorned with insignia, trousers, a belt to carry equipment, and sturdy all-terrain, all-weather boots. Some forces also provide high-visibility jackets for added safety during low-visibility conditions.


Batons play a pivotal role in an officer’s toolkit. The expandable baton is the most frequently used variety in the UK. These compact, retractable batons can be swiftly extended when needed, serving multiple functions, including self-defense and gaining control in confrontations. Proper training on the ethical and effective use of batons is an integral part of police training. Police Batons are normally secured on an officers belt kit in a baton holder.


Handcuffs are indispensable tools for restraining individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others. Unlike chain-link-style handcuffs prevalent in other countries, UK police employ rigid handcuffs, offering enhanced control over detainees and reducing the risk of wrist injury. Officers typically carry a spare key in a separate location for added security.

Body Armor

Referred to as “stab vests,” body armor is commonly worn by UK police officers. These vests provide protection against bladed weapons, pointed instruments, and lower-velocity projectiles. In more perilous situations, such as high-risk confrontations, officers may opt for bullet-resistant vests that offer added protection against higher-velocity projectiles. The latter is typically reserved for armed response units and specialized teams.


Reliable communication is paramount in police work, and radios serve as lifelines connecting officers to the control room and fellow colleagues in real-time. These radios are encrypted to prevent eavesdropping and often feature emergency buttons that instantly alert the control room in times of immediate danger. Various attachments, such as discreet earpieces, can be added for confidential communication.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kit

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) has become a standard component of a police officer’s essential gear. This includes disposable gloves, masks, and, at times, eye protection. The PPE kit not only safeguards officers but also protects the public and detainees.

Specialized Tools

In addition to the fundamental gear essentials, police officers may be equipped with specialized tools tailored to their roles, assignments, and associated risks.


In the UK, not all police officers carry firearms as part of their standard equipment. Only specially trained firearms officers are authorized to wield guns, which may include semi-automatic pistols and carbines. In extreme scenarios like counter-terrorism operations or hostage rescues, more powerful weaponry like sniper rifles and sub-machine guns might be utilized.

These officers undergo rigorous selection processes and training programs to ensure their competence in firearm use. The deployment of firearms officers is a last-resort measure to neutralize immediate threats to life. However they do conduct routine patrols, in readyness to be deployed and assist response officers.


As a less-lethal force option, some units are equipped with taser-stun guns. These electroshock weapons temporarily disrupt muscle functions without causing substantial harm. Officers using tasers receive specialized training on ethical and effective deployment, including aiming for areas that minimize potential harm.

A lot more officers all over the UK are now trained in this non-lethal form of defence. It allows officers safely detain suspects who are very aggressive in a much safer manner than using batons.

Dog Units

K9 or dog units play integral roles in various aspects of police work. Specially trained dogs assist in tasks such as tracking and apprehending suspects, detecting drugs and explosives, and locating missing persons. Each dog undergoes extensive training and forms a strong working partnership with a handler. Dogs are trained in specific skills related to substance detection or tracking.

Riot Gear

In situations involving public disorder, such as escalating protests, police officers are equipped with specialized riot gear, including transparent polycarbonate riot shields, riot helmets with visors, protective padding, gas masks, and extended-length batons. This gear is designed to protect officers while maintaining their mobility and effectiveness in managing high-tension situations.

Police Vehicles

Vehicles are essential for UK police operations, enabling patrolling, rapid response to incidents, and detainee transportation, among other duties. Various types of police vehicles serve different purposes:

  • Patrol Cars: These are commonly seen on UK streets and are equipped with specialized communication equipment, emergency lights, and sirens. They serve multiple functions, including neighborhood patrols, emergency responses, and traffic stops.
  • Motorcycles: Ideal for traffic control and maneuvering in heavy traffic, police motorcycles are also used for escort duties and rapid response situations due to their agility and speed.
  • Vans: Police vans transport multiple officers to various locations, especially during large-scale events or operations. They also transport detainees in a separate compartment and may feature CCTV cameras and reinforced panels for security.
  • Armed Response Vehicles (ARVs): These high-speed, specialized vehicles transport armed officers and their equipment. They are equipped with secure firearm storage, advanced communication systems, high-visibility markings, and first aid kits, suitable for high-risk situations.
  • Helicopters: Police helicopters provide unique aerial perspectives useful in search and rescue, high-speed chases, and aerial surveillance. They are equipped with advanced technology such as thermal imaging cameras and searchlights for various operations.

Technology in Policing

As technology advances, UK police forces increasingly integrate various tech tools into their operations, enhancing traditional policing methods:

  • Body Cameras: Body-worn cameras, attached to an officer’s uniform, record interactions with the public. They aim to increase transparency, protect officers from false accusations, and provide evidence in investigations.
  • Drones: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones are used for aerial surveillance, crowd monitoring, and search and rescue. Equipped with high-resolution cameras and sensors, they enhance situational awareness and decision-making.
  • Computers and Tablets: In-car computers and handheld tablets allow officers to access databases, file reports, and conduct background checks while on the move, improving efficiency.
  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Systems: These systems read and check vehicle registration plates, aiding in tracking stolen vehicles and investigating various crimes.

Equipment Training

Proper training is essential for the effective and safe use of equipment. Officers undergo extensive scenario-based training for each piece of equipment, including handcuffs and specialized training for authorized firearm carriers. Continuous training and re-certification ensure that officers maintain current skills.

Recommended Equipment to Buy

For those considering a career in policing or serving officers looking to enhance their standard-issue equipment, here are some recommended items:

  • Torch: A reliable torch is indispensable for low-light or nighttime situations, aiding in evidence search and suspect disorientation. If you need a Police Torch we have lots with discounts on our website.
  • Handcuff Keys: Having spare universal handcuff keys is a prudent choice for officers.
  • Gloves: Disposable gloves are crucial for hygiene and protection, especially in situations involving health risks.
  • Multi-tool: A quality multi-tool is invaluable for various tasks in the field, from cutting tape to minor equipment repairs.
  • Notepad and Pen: Despite the digital age, a notepad and pen remain reliable tools for note-taking, witness statements, and sketches.


UK police equipment is diverse and tailored to the officer’s role, police force, and specific characteristics. Police Discount Offers provides some of the best discounts and codes to save on police equipment from top brands, ensuring officers are equipped to thrive in their profession.


  • What equipment do UK police carry? The basic equipment list for UK police includes uniforms, batons, handcuffs, body armor, radios, and PPE kits. Specialized tools and vehicles vary depending on the unit and task.
  • What equipment do detectives use in the UK? Detectives may use unmarked cars, surveillance equipment, and specialized investigative software. They don’t typically carry the same range of equipment as uniformed officers but may have access to firearms if qualified.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones

My name is Steve Jones and I set up this website in 2012. I am an Ex-Police Officer with over 17 years experience in various departments, posted to some of the roughest places in UK. I initially set up the website during a time of big change in the Police Service. Police Pension, Pay and conditions had been compromised. I really wanted the wider Police Community to save money and I found that I could use this website to find deals relevant for the Police, for example, Police Boots and equipment. Since then the Website has continued to grow and I hope that the Police Family continue to save money from these exclusive deals and promotions. Free free to contact me via email, or take a look at my Linkdin profile.

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