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Cops told to shave off designer stubble and polish boots in dress code crackdown
27 July 2022, 10:24
Police officers in Manchester have been told to shave off designer stubble and polish their boots in a scheme that has turned the force into one of Britain's "fastest improving".
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Stephen Watson, Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) new Chief Constable, who replaced Ian Hopkins when he stepped down last summer, said the dress code he introduced helps restore public respect.
In a "back to basics" plan, Mr Watson ordered the strict dress code after finding "cheap" kit left officers appearing scruffy and unprofessional.
His shake-up of the rules came in a bid to improve the standards of GMP, which was placed in "special measures" last June because of its poor record investigating thousands of crimes.
Mr Watson told The Telegraph the dress code has since helped to restore public and professional respect in his officers.
He said it was not the fault of officers who had been issued with "cheap" kit in a bid to save money, but said it looked "scruffy" and as a result, so did they.
Alongside the new kit, officers are also required to follow a new dress code.
“If you turn up to work, if you’re a female officer, you tie your hair up, if you’re a man you’ve had a shave, you press your clothing if you know how, you polish your boots, you look smart, and you look professional. We’re very uncompromising on that,” said Mr Watson.
He wants his officers to take a leaf out of the book of the Grenadier Guards outside Buckingham Palace, who "never have a problem with smartness".
Mr Watson said his new strategy, which has seen more officers on the streets and a huge increase in arrests, "gets back to the core fundamentals of effective policing".
He said it means GMP was now emerging as the "most improved" force in Britain.
Last weekend it had its best 999 call answer times on record and since he took over arrests have jumped 61 per cent.
Mr Watson took his previous force, South Yorkshire, out of special measures and believes he can do it again with Greater Manchester.
Six police forces in England are currently under special measures.
These include the under-fire Metropolitan Police in London, which was placed into special measures following a litany of failures, such as the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer.
Cleveland, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and Wiltshire join the Met and GMP in being under increased scrutiny.