WHEN C shift reports for duty at 12.01 am on July 1, 1997, the officers of Asia's finest will be wearing different badges and emblems. The police are soon to unveil their plans to ensure colonial-style emblems and references are deleted before the change of sovereignty. The Steering Committee on Police Transition will meet next year to look at changes - possibly even to the wording of an oath of allegiance. A few meetings have already been held to identify appropriate targets for change: in personnel, training, transport and auxiliary police. But disputes over titles - and whether the Chinese or English language should be most prominent - are dragging down the design of uniform pips and badges. The timetable is tricky because the internal security force operates under British rule until the stroke of midnight on June 30, 1997. Despite having a deep attachment to colonial rule - especially given the Special Branch's anti-China spying duties - the force has pledged a policy of 'minimum change'. 'Little is going to change in the way we operate and behave,' said a source involved in the negotiations. 'There are a number of areas that are still outside our control.' For the uniform, almost no alterations are necessary. A contract for new uniforms has been secured by a Chinese manufacturer but the dress itself will not need any changes. The most noticeable difference will be in the force's crest. New designs take away the crown altogether and alter a picture inside the circle of laurel leaves. This image, with its connotations of a colonial trader dealing opium to a local Chinese, is likely to be replaced by a panorama of Hong Kong.