Frontline police set to test HIV-proof jackets

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 12:00am

Police are to test new 'blood-proof' jackets that may help to protect wearers from contracting infections such as HIV and hepatitis.

Chief Superintendent William Tang How-kong said the hi-tech fabric of the coats, which could replace the current dark-blue winter woollen jacket, included a special coating to protect against blood-borne diseases. The material, which provides better protection than standard waterproof clothing, was the same one used by emergency services in the United States, he said.

In the latest issue of the police publication Offbeat, Superintendent Alice Yeung Chui-mei said extra protection for officers was important.

'This is essential for frontline officers who often attend the blood-stained scenes of accidents or crimes and who have contact with injured people,' Ms Yeung said. 'It will reduce the chances of accidental infection.'

The new jackets are part of a revamped uniform which is being tested in a one-year pilot scheme starting on January 5. They will be worn by 800 officers stationed at the airport, MTR stations and traffic and emergency units on Hong Kong Island.

Designed by fashion chain G2000, officers below the rank of station sergeant will wear blue shirts, and those above, white. Skirts, which are now optional for female officers, will be replaced by dark blue trousers.

Mr Tang dismissed worries that the public would be confused by two different sets of uniforms being used at the same time, pointing out that both were blue.

The jackets would be issued to the rest of the force late next year at the earliest.