UK Police Bags: What You Need To Know
As a UK police officer you need the right gear by your side. One often underestimated but absolutely essential piece of equipment is your choice of bag. Different roles require different equipment, which directly impacts the size and style of bag you need. In this guide, we'll provide you with insights into various bag types suitable for different police duties, ensuring you're equipped for any situation.
So let’s look at some typical roles and how these might affect your choice of tactical bag:
Patrol Officer (foot).
Being uniformed and if deployed on foot patrol you have little ability to carry any sort of police bag while patrolling. So the most important thing is transporting your kit to and from work and having somewhere safe to leave your personal stuff while you are out of the station. You still want something sturdy that will last but the ‘tactical’ element of the bag is less important. We generally find that a standard ‘police kit bag’ does the trick really well with a combination of decent space, one or two internal and external compartments to keep your stuff organised (specific for police kit such as torches, cuffs etc). Better quality police kit bags generally have some element of semi-rigid structure to make sure the bag contents are protected and to make good use of the available space.
Patrol Officer (vehicle) / Response Officer.
Being vehicle based allows you to carry more kit with you during your shift. This opens up the options to a range of bags. The main choice is between standard police kit bags, police patrol bags and a tactical rucksack. The choice between these is dependent on both personal choice and the type of kit you need to carry. For example if you need to carry a laptop and/or significant amounts of paperwork a more rigid solution offered by police patrol bags may be best. These are a cross between a tactical police bag and a briefcase, keeping everything protected and organised.
Standard police kit bags are a great option for being thrown in and out of vehicles but make sure the one you choose is well made and has reinforced stitching on handle joins etc – we do tend to over-stuff and abuse our bags so get one that is of decent quality and preferably designed specifically for police. The third main option here is a tactical rucksack. With less inherent structure the advantage of this type of bag is ease of carry over longer distances and that they have twin shoulder straps. There is generally also a choice of sizes allowing you to buy one specific to the amount of kit you need to carry. Many also have MOLLE webbing so that you can add pouches etc as you see fit.
Public Order Officers:
Potentially in addition to a personal bag for taking kit to and from work, PSU/public order officers are more likely to have to transport significant amounts of kit, including helmets, PPE etc to and from carriers during their working day. So the option of police load-out bags is there. These are generally around the 80 litre mark and should come with an assortment of external pockets and pouches to organise your gear. Some of the better designed versions also have full shoulder straps incorporated in addition to the standard twin handles for safer and more comfortable carriage of heavy loads over longer distances.
Perhaps more important in a police bag rather than one for civilian use is material and manufacturing quality. Some important elements to check are:
- Material quality. Often made from a tough material called Cordura you should look for a decent weight of material (particularly in load-out bags where you should be looking for over 1000D (Dernier) weight of fabric.
- Water resistance. You don’t want every drop of moisture going through to your kit so look for an element of water resistance to the fabric.
- Zips. A common point of failure on police bags due to their hard use, make sure your chosen police bag has good quality zips such as YKK.
- Stitching. The most common reason for needing to replace a police bag. Slightly more difficult for the purchaser to know what to look for (double stitching in key areas, box stitching in high stress joints etc), but make sure your chosen brand is known for quality manufacturing and preferably but a police bag specifically designed for police or tactical use as the design specification is likely to be higher.
For a good range of examples of the different police bag options we have discussed, click on this POLICE BAGS link.