THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Ulster MP calls for modification to equipment worn by the police

From the News Letter, May 21, 1924

Friday, 21st May 2021, 6:00 am
Stormont Parliament Buildings. Picture: Pacemaker
Stormont Parliament Buildings. Picture: Pacemaker

Colonel P J Woods in the Northern Ireland House of Commons the previous day had challenged the Minister for Home Affairs (Sir Dawson Bates) to consider modifying the equipment worn by police constables in the province.

Colonel Woods had explained how at that time police constables had to wear equipment which weighed about 14lbs and was “without adequate support”.

Mr R D Megaw, who replied on behalf of the Minister of Home Affairs), told the House that the weight of the “usual articles of equipment” which were worn on the belt of a police constable was 3lbs 12oz and included a baton, baton case, handcuffs and handcuff case.

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He said that if the revolver, holster, ammunition pouch and ammunition were added the total weight was 8lbs 12ozs.

He said that the belt worn by constables was supported by hooks and was identical with that which had been used by the Royal Irish Constabulary.

Mr Megaw said: “This equipment has proved satisfactory and no complaints in regard to it had been received from members of the force.”

He added: “It is not considered necessary or advisable to make any alteration to the existing arrangements in this respect.”

Responding to the answer Colonel Woods refuted what had been said.

Woods remarked: “If the honourable member weighed the equipment he would find it weighs a great deal more than 8lbs with ammunition in the revolver and ammunition in the pouch, and with belt and handcuffs.”

He asked: “Are you aware that I have received a number of complaints about the breaking of the two hooks sewn in the tunic? The men are entitled to some consideration.”