Early Uniforms

Michael V Dixon
Michael V Dixon
Michael V Dixon
Michael V Dixon
Michael V Dixon
Michael V Dixon

A ‘Peeler’ Uniform

Used by the early policemen and particularly associated with the ‘Peeler’

A navy blue swallow-tailed coat with a raised leather collar to protect the officer from garrotting, blue trousers and a stove pipe hat.

Each officer carried a truncheon for protection and a rattle for calling assistance.



The Stovepipe Hat

The importance of distinguishing the police from the military was reflected in the style of uniform.

The stovepipe hat was recognisable as popular civilian attire and was believed to give the officer suitable protection from a blow to the head.

It was employed until 1865.




The British Helmet

Introduced in 1865 it was based on the military helmet of the day.

Initially they were without helmet plates. These identifying plates developed over the next 40 years.

In the early years the officer’s divisional letter and number was included on the crest.





This amusing 1909 American police officer is brandishing his Nut Cracker or truncheon.

The truncheon was used years before the Peeler by Parish Constables.

It is still regarded as the last means of resort.







The Whistle

Originally police officers used a rattle to summon assistance. however, by the 1880s it was found that a whistle would better pierce the increasing noise and bustle of the city.




 Duty Armbands

The armband makes it clear that the officer is on duty.

Although considered to be on duty 24/7, when travelling to or from duty it was considered necessary to distinguish between on duty and off duty officers.

The duty armband remained in general use until the amalgamation of forces in 1968.

Some forces, like the City of London, retained the armband.