Traffic police told to remove 'stiflingly hot' motorcycle uniforms

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 June, 2007, 12:00am

Traffic officers have been told to take their jackets off when not riding their motorcycles and to drink more water after complaints that new jackets - introduced two months ago to provide better protection - are stiflingly hot. The police force was also looking for more suitable jacket material, Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said yesterday.

Mr Lee was responding to a question from lawmaker Lau Kong-wah, who also queried the cost and suitability of uniforms issued to police and other disciplined services.

He said the jackets, issued last month in an effort to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance, were made of elastic nylon/cotton with laminated cloth and reflective safety fabric.

'Some traffic officers have pointed out that the ... jacket makes the wearer feel hot,' Mr Lee said.

He said the department would seek to strike a balance between comfort, safety and the force's image, and would listen to officers' opinions.

'Policemen can take off their jackets when they are not riding their motorcycles,' said Mr Lee. 'But they must put on their jackets when they are on their motorcycles, for protection.'

Earlier media reports said officers experienced skin-sensitivity problems and feared sunstroke.

Mr Lau asked how traffic officers could be helped in the meantime. Mr Lee said the government would discuss the matter with the officers, 'and see if any changes can be made'.

Lawmaker Choy So-yuk asked why the full uniform cost more than HK$8,000, while some departments' uniforms cost only a few hundred dollars. Mr Lee said that was due to the cost of materials designed for specific occupational needs.

Some policemen also complained that their summer trousers were prone to fading and the buttons on the shirt collars tended to fall off when being washed. The department has changed the trousers to more colour-fast material and redesigned the shirt collars with no buttons.

Immigration officers had complained that their form-fitting uniform tunics were too tight, so the department was looking at substituting pullovers instead.

Higher costs

While other departments' uniforms cost a few hundred Hong Kong dollars, the special uniform traffic officers wear costs more than: $8,000