Police spend £100,000 on new shirts
A police force has splashed out £100,000 on replacing officers' white shirts with black ones - even though it must make millions of pounds of savings in the coming year.
West Midlands Police said the decision to change the colour of the shirts came after staff said the darker ones were "far more practical".
Operational officers are being issued with black zip-up shirts, replacing the existing white ones, while community support officers will wear dark blue versions.
Station-based officers will retain the traditional white button-up shirt.
Chief Constable Chris Sims said: "The general view from staff was that, although the classic white shirt looks professional and businesslike, they can be restrictive and uncomfortable when worn under protective vests when out on patrol.
"This is about modernising our range of uniform to make sure it suits the demanding role officers have in policing our communities."
In order to ensure what it called "a greater corporacy appearance", operational officers and PCSOs will also be required to wear a high-visibility harness to carry their personal protection equipment and radio, the force said.
The decision to introduce the new lightweight uniform was made in consultation with the Police Authority. The cost - of about £100,000 - will be met from existing budgets, the force said.
The rolling out of the new uniform came after Home Secretary Theresa May indicated police forces would be subject to significant budget cuts.
Speaking at the Association of Chief Police Officers' conference, she underlined the dire economic circumstances and said officials would be "ruthless" at cutting waste. She warned senior officers that the big cuts would be "tough to achieve" and would fall on police as on other public services.