HAMPSHIRE Police shelled out more than £40,000 replacing lost, stolen or damaged equipment or uniform, The News can reveal.
A Freedom of Information Request shows the authority spent a total of £40,727.38 on replacing the items between January 1, 2011 and May 2, 2012.
During the period a total of 54 CS gas holders had to be replaced, while 89 police badge holders, 250 torches, 115 ridged handcuffs, and 34 batons – or asps – were either lost, damaged or stolen.
Other items that had to be replaced include trousers, blouses, body armour, belts, a PCSO cycle helmet, and Goliath boots.
The figures have been defended by Chief Inspector Paul Bartolomeo, chairman of the authority’s uniform review group.
He said: ‘Police officers and police community support officers work in often very challenging and physically demanding situations and therefore wear and tear to uniform is unavoidable.
‘Damage to uniform is an occupational hazard for the police service, as are loss of items while in the pursuit of a police officer’s duties.
‘The force has a duty to ensure all officers are issued with, and have access to, appropriate and functioning personal protective equipment and other basic items of uniform clothing.
‘Hampshire Constabulary is committed to making the most of its resources and avoiding unnecessary waste and therefore all employees are reminded of their responsibilities to ensure they look after and maintain personal equipment and that they adhere to the force’s standards of appearance.’
John Apter, chairman of the Hampshire Police Authority, said the figures were ‘not that excessive’.
He said: ‘Although in black and white it looks like a large figure, I would think it’s not that excessive when you think of how many people are provided with uniform and equipment across the force area.
‘I know the force is forever dealing with suppliers and looking for alternative procurement opportunities.
‘I have been in situations where officers have been investigated over lost or damaged equipment, but they happen in high stress situations that are unique to other occupations.
‘Clothing has to be replaced after a certain amount of time, otherwise it doesn’t look smart, and, for obvious reasons, some bodily fluids on uniform cannot be washed out and have to be disposed of.’