Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Police Earpieces

There are a wide variety of Police Earpieces on the market, whether you need an Overt or Covert Earpiece, listen only or with Push To Talk (PTT) and Microphone, whether you want in ear or headset, D Shape, G Shape or Acoustic and choice is to be honest 100% personal preference! What I will do today is run over the basic pro's and con's of each type of police earpiece and their normal uses but ultimately you have to try a few different types and find what works for you.

With covert ear pieces you have a couple of options a wireless in ear receiver and hidden mic that runs to a minimum of £200 and probably more like £500 or the more common acoustic earpiece with clear coiled tube which will set you back anywhere between £12 and £20.  The clear tube runs out of the back of the wearers shirt collar and loops over the top of the ear and into the ear canal.  There are two options then for fitting the tube into the ear canal, either the standard "Mushroom Tip" which blocks the whole ear canal of the "Gel Earpiece Insert" that fits into the ear well to hold it in place and then a smaller tube runs into the ear canal allowing both clear transmission of comms without the earpiece completely cutting off ambient local sounds.  Acoustic Covert earpieces can have a 3 wire PTT and Mic allowing the mic to be lapel mounted or hidden in a sleeve or listen only.

G Shape police ear pieces fit like an inverted G made of black plastic or rubber, hooked over the top of the ear with the earpiece speaker coming down to the opening of the ear canal (some ear pieces have it swivel mounted others don't).  General consensus is that the G shape earpiece is the most comfortable for the most users.

D Shape Police Earpieces (surprisingly enough) are black plastic or rubber D Shapes with the curve hooking round the back of the ear and the straight part running down the centre of the ear with the speaker mounted in the middle to align with the ear opening.  These do not fit as close to the ear as a G Shape earpiece and people with bigger ears may tend to find they flap about like Dumbo when running!!

Both D and G Shape earpieces are available in PTT and Mic or listen only and will normally set you back anywhere between £10 and £20.

The most common police radio earpieces are for Motorola MTH800 and CP040 Series, Sepura SRP 2000 series and a few models of Kenwood.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Maglite torches

Maglite Torches are the iconic police torch, renowned for their "bomb proof" durability and made famous by hanging from the belt of every US police officer (or Cop) in countless TV shows and films over the last 20 or so years.  The fact that they are still so commonly used today is testement to their build quality, and in fact my 3D cell is over 20 years old and still going strong (though I did fit an LED upgrade recently, doing away with the old filament bulb for a brighter output and longer battery life).

Maglites are available in a range of different sizes from the key ring size Maglite Solitaire to the baseball bat size 6D cell and everything in between!  The basic models have not changed that much over the years, more recently the filament bulbs have been improved to the Xenon bulbs as standard but you still only get the same basic functionality "On" or "Off".

A little bit later than a lot of other brands the the party, Maglite released a range of LED Maglites and an LED upgrade module for each of their traditional torch sizes, however they recently pulled the official Maglite brand LED upgrade module from the market (though there are still a range of third party suppliers out there).  The LED Maglite torches cost a good 20% more than there Xenon counter parts but you soon recover that in a reduced spend on batteries, not only do the LED Maglites offer a better run time as standard, the substantially better light output means you are likely to spend a lot less time looking for whatever you are after in the dark than trying to use a filament version!!!

Even more recently Maglite have expanded their range to offer a lot more of the functionality that brands like Fenix were starting to offer to the police market like, half strength, strobe, SOS and "turbo" modes as well as integrated rechargeable products which could be wall or vehicle mounted and charged from mains or cigarette lighter.  The Maglite Magcharger system is quite an expensive outlay at first, but for a regular user like a night patrolman the money is soon recovered in savings on batteries not to mention the convenience factor.

What's great about the new Maglites is that they have caught up with the technical innovations that other companies had beaten them to the post with, but maintained the traditions of rugged durability and reliability at a reasonable price point.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Law Enforcement Equipment

UK Law Enforcement equipment is a bit different to what is commonly used by our cousins across the pond but most law re-enforcement equipment is developed in the US for the US market and then adapted for UK law enforcement.

The most common difference between American and UK Law Enforcement Equipment is the adaptation for firearms.   Very few British law enforcement officers carry a fire arm, or even a Taser currently (though Taser use is being ramped up) and as such the need for pistol holsters or magazine holders is dramatically diminished.  Most manufacturers of law enforcement equipment however if not actually american themselves, have aimed their products at the much larger American market, so the likes of 5.11, Blackhawk, Vertex, Arcteryx etc have all designed their pants or police vests to accommodate hand guns and ammunition.  Two notable exceptions would be UK based Arktis and Op. Zulu who have a more geo-targeted with their equipment design and manufacture, producing vests specifically to hold UK Law enforcement equipment like PAVA or CAPTA defence spray, extendible batons, cuffs Airwaves Radio system with KlickFast Dock and then another couple of pockets for your pocket note book, sandwiches, etc.

Another key difference in law enforcement equipment needs is the design of tactical trousers (pants) .  Yet again the US market is saturated with trousers built for holsters and to hold spare magazines and pocket knives, but no UK law enforcement personnel carry pocket knives as standard and only a very small percentage carry pistol magazines and even those that do are issued with specific magazine pouches rather than cutting their own detail as if an accident were to occur whilst the magazine is stuffed in a pocket rather than in an officially issued pouch with secure retention etc.

Other than the fire arms issue  a lot of law enforcement equipment has to serve many of the same specifications, needing to be hard wearing, abrasion resistant, stain resistant, water resistant and /or fast drying, if not water proof, re enforced in the major wear points, suitably cut to allow minimise restriction of movement when running, or climbing, or transitioning from any number of positions and reliable enough to function for years in a variety of conditions.