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Thread: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Dave D's Avatar
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    Default British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    WARNINGThis thread won't get your heart racing!!

    I joined the Police in 1983 and in those day the only thing you got issued with, besides your uniform, was a pocket book and a wooden truncheon.

    My first night on foot patrol I was advised that I could book out one of the station flashlights, an Eveready 2 x D Cell Rubber Torch.



    Not what you would call High Tech! The one's that we used were black but I couldn't fine a photograph of one, so You'll have to make do with the red version.

    Of course the car driver's got the car allocated flashlight, we called them a Bardic, which had a filter which could be turned across the bulb to give either white, red, green or amber light. The light output however was not a lot better than the rubber Eveready!



    The example above has Telecom on it so it wasn't just the Police that used them. I think they were made to attach to train wagons.

    In the late eighties we all got issued with Maglite D cell torches, and at the time we thought they were the bees knees!



    The cars also got an upgrade with Handheld 12v Halogen lamps that plugged into a portable 12v battery.



    Then around the turn of the century the powers that be decided that we should all be issued with Mini Maglites instead of the D cell Maglites. Needless to say they weren't ideal, and they are still being issued today.



    But the cars were being equipped with a far better light that is again is still in service today, the British made 'Dragon Light', these lamps tended to be on charge at the Police Station and you would take one out on patrol with you to ensure that the battery was fully charged.
    They put out a lot of light but are quiet heavy.



    So you could either chase an offender down a dark alley with your issued Mini Maglite or grab the Dragon Light, needless to say most officers chase them dowm the alley without any additional lighting and rely on their night vision! Fortunately in the UK there is little chance of being shot or stabbed and because of that we are issued with bullet and knife resistant vests, which weigh an additional 14lbs, so the chance of catching said offender is slim anyway!!

    Fortunately for the past nine years I have been a member of the local Air Support Unit so the offenders have difficulty outrunning a Eurocopter EC135, when I want to light then up I use the 30 million candle power Nitesun fitted to the aircraft.



    Now that's what I call a flashlight!!!

    Stay safe out there.
    Last edited by Dave D; 04-11-2013 at 01:18 AM.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Thanks for the history, Dave. It looks like there's still some room for improvement. Surely it's time to move up from the Mini-Mag.

    Geoff

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Dave D's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    It just goes to show that the people who make the decisions about the equipment issued have no idea as to how effective the equipment they are supplying is.

    The bottom line is the cost, I submitted reports suggesting that all officers working the streets should be issued with Surefire G2's when they first came out.

    I even managed to get an offer of a discounted price for bulk purchasing them but as soon as the bean counters saw the price they wouldn't even entertain the idea.

    Only five months left until I retire and the situation is getting worse, the UK Police are facing 25% financial cutbacks, we have lost 10 helicopters from around the country leaving 23 to cover England and Wales.

    This video sums it up nicely.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a88Rc4RhQJk

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Dave D's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Just remembered that Dog Handlers (K-9 Officers) and Firearms Officers (SWAT) did get issued with Surefire 6P's.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Thanks for the history!! I am in LE here in the states. Sorry to hear about the lack of appropriate lighting you are issued. I do however know all about funding issues. Not to open a can of worms, but will the departments let officers carry personal lights? Keep us posted and be safe!!!
    FENIX E01, E05, E15, LD22, PD32 S2, TK15 S2, TK35 U2. STREAMLIGHT PolyTac LED, Strion LED[B]. Foursevens Quark Pro QP2L-X. And a couple of old MagLights for nastalgia, and lets face it- if you ever lose your hammer... 18650 Charging provided by Xtar WP2 II.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Dave D's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by LightCrazy View Post
    Not to open a can of worms, but will the departments let officers carry personal lights?
    It's not a problem carrying your own flashlight, I quickly bought something similar to a Maglite when I first joined and in later years I bought myself one of the incandescent Sure G2's which I carried on my duty belt in a Modanock baton holder, which I shortened with a hack saw to just a bit longer than the G2 so that the tailcap switch wouldn't activate the light whilst it was in its holder. We were issued with the Modanock expandable batons so it was fairly easy to get an extra holder.


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    Flashaholic* Nyctophiliac's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Great history of UK Police lights Dave. Also nice to see a couple of the older lights. My Dad had at least two of the rubber covered 2D lights in our house and in the car. I still have two of the Bardic lanterns, ex British rail and modded to take alternate batteries.

    I have asked police Officers in London about their lights issue - normally when I spy an interesting light on their belts. The ones with surefires (G2, C2 and Z2 I have seen) always say they are their own lights and lament the issue of Maglites as the norm. They seemed to like the fact that I, a Civvy, was also carrying a Surefire. A friendly bunch of chaps and chappesses IMHO.

    Loved the big Helicopter light - often see those deployed in Central London.

    I'm sure those five months will go quickly. Happy retirement.

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    Flashaholic plaguem's Avatar
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    Default British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    A very enjoyable post. Lights and history, can't go wrong.

  9. #9
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    Default British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Nice post. Thanks.

    A shame to see that issued equipment is often sub-par though...makes it hard for these folks to do their jobs effectively.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by LightCrazy View Post
    Not to open a can of worms, but will the departments let officers carry personal lights?
    I'm also a UK cop and my force is totally different to DaveD's in terms of issuing outdated lights, mine doesn't do this.

    In fact they don't issue any lights, if you want a flashlight, you HAVE to bring your own!!! I'm still shocked by the fact that a lot of cops don't carry a flashlight at all!

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Dave D's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by 999snafu View Post
    I'm also a UK cop and my force is totally different to DaveD's in terms of issuing outdated lights, mine doesn't do this.

    In fact they don't issue any lights, if you want a flashlight, you HAVE to bring your own!!! I'm still shocked by the fact that a lot of cops don't carry a flashlight at all!
    I even bought my first pair of handcuffs, as we didn't get issued with those either. My first issued handcuffs were the ones with the plastic handle making them a rigid cuff, I think we got them in the late eighties.

    I went back on the streets recently for a short period of time and it surprised me that the young cops don't get themselves an upgraded torch of some sort, the ones that do don't want to spend any more that £20. My G2 served me well and was worth the money, especially when you divide the cost by the number of years of use.

    If Surefire would bring out a rechargeable G2X Pro, with the High output as the primary, then I think that would be a very good duty flashlight for UK Officers.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* tobrien's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    nice post, what a great read
    aka Edgar Allan Bro, Brosama Bin Liftin, Walter Crunkite, Bro Namath, Teddy Brosevelt, and the Tomahawk Crunkmissile.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Enjoyed your post Dave. I'm retired Sgt in U.S. got out of the academy in '77 and reported to south station. There were 3 Every Ready aluminum flashlights, with the magnetic strips on the bottom, to "borrow". Also a box of old Ray O Vac d cell batteries. The next morning I went the uniform shop and bought a 2 cell Mag lite, which was some what better it has a spare bulb in the cap. Eventually changed departments and was issued a Streamlight SL20. Carried it for many years. Now own 2 of these. Also used a Surefire 6p, carried on my belt. Recently changed it to LED and carry it every where.

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    Flashaholic* Dave D's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldenslo View Post
    I'm retired
    I'm really looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life!

    Glad you enjoyed the thread, I must admit I was struggling to think of anything that I could add to this forum.

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    Flashaholic* dougie's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Dave, if you think UK Police Officers had problems with the torches they were issued with you'd be amazed at the rubbish that UK ambulance services had to contend with. As you might expect as UK ambulance services were and are funded by the NHS all non clinical equipment chosen was down to a select group of faceless individuals Needless to say that there were always supposed to be two torches to every ambulance. However, that didn't necessarily mean two of the same type!! I remember buying a 2 x AA Maglite and thinking how brilliant it was compared to the usual 'D' size monstrosities that were issued on the vehicles. As size matters and as I usually worked solo for the last 10 years I ended up carrying a Surefire G2z with a Malkoff dropin module. That light helped me do my job brilliantly and was chosen specifically as I could use it between my teeth when working and I needed both hands free. Unfortunately, I'm waiting to retire (work related injury and subsequent ill health) but like you am having to look forward to a new chapter in my life. In my case though I wish I'd been able to get another five years in

    Anyway great to see the pictures of the old torches. The Eveready certainly takes me back!!

  16. #16
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Your images are oversize, when you post an image please remember Rule #3

    Rule #3 If you post an image in your post, please downsize the image to no larger than 800 x 800 pixels.

    Please resize and repost. - Thanks Norm

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    Flashaholic* Dave D's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Done :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm View Post
    Your images are oversize, when you post an image please remember Rule #3

    Rule #3 If you post an image in your post, please downsize the image to no larger than 800 x 800 pixels.

    Please resize and repost. - Thanks Norm

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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    My station's still using MagRs. Someone went and bought a bunch of Lenser M7Rs for station issue, which we all thought was cool, but they didn't stand up to constant, every-night use. The Mag seems mostly reliable at least. 999snafu, my sympathies! Unbelievable (almost) that a department would compromise officer safety to such an extent, just to save a few quid.

  19. #19

    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Whilst I cannot confirm, the latest I have heard from a good friend in the Leics force is that new recruits are being issued a £20 voucher for boots and a torch!!! Painful!

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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by OccupationalHazard View Post
    new recruits are being issued a £20 voucher for boots and a torch!!! Painful!
    20 quid is better than nowt, Civvys in my force get a voucher to buy/contribute towards boots but actual cops don't. Uniform, belt kit & vest is provided but boots & torch you buy yourself.

  21. #21

    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Interesting thread,thanks.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic msim's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing!

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* Dave D's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougie View Post
    I'm waiting to retire (work related injury and subsequent ill health) but like you am having to look forward to a new chapter in my life. In my case though I wish I'd been able to get another five years in
    I hope everything goes ok in your forced retirement.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* Dave D's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    When I joined in 1983 we weren't issued with boot and in those day we all wore 'Dr Martins', I still have my original 'bulled' pair that I wore for inspections at Training School!

    I quickly found that they weren't waterproof and the soles offered little grip in the wet, I tried British Army DMS boot and they leaked like a sieve, I eventually invested in 'Danner' boots, they were expensive but the Vibram soles are replaceable so I got many years of use out of them.

    My force now (since about 2001) issues Magnums, because I'm on a specialist unit we get issued 'Altbergs', which are ok but I prefer my old Danners.
    Last edited by Dave D; 04-13-2013 at 12:00 AM.

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    Flashaholic* mcnair55's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    On another forum I visit a UK police officer who is with the armed response section has done a nice write up on the Klarus XT11 which he bought himself and it seems officers from other forces have done the same.
    Diagnosed with Grumpy Old Man Syndrome

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* dougie's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Dave D,

    Thanks for the best wishes! I can't say ill health retirement is something I'm looking forward to.....sigh! Still, I'm alive and able to think which are two criteria which the DWP applies to people who can't work through injury so that is a blessing I suppose.....(muted sarcasm)!

    Doug

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    Flashaholic* Jash's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    When I was a kid I had one of those black, rubber Eveready torches. I remember bouncing the light off the ceiling and looking around the very dimly lit room thinking how awesome it was.

    Batteries were all but dead after half an hour or so, but if you left it in the sun for a few hours you'd get another minute or two of usable light before you ultimately got to the point where the bulb simply wouldn't even glow anymore. I used it sparingly and loved to take it on camping trips with an extra set of cells for it.

    Now, an EO1 makes more light for 20 times longer on a single AAA cell. How far we've come in half a lifetime.
    There can never be too much honey to lick off your fingers.

  28. #28

    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougie View Post
    Dave, if you think UK Police Officers had problems with the torches they were issued with you'd be amazed at the rubbish that UK ambulance services had to contend with. As you might expect as UK ambulance services were and are funded by the NHS all non clinical equipment chosen was down to a select group of faceless individuals
    Much the same as some of the Australian ambulance services. Plastic 6V dolphin torches were the standard issue. I was asked to hold one as they were attending to a hurt drunk guy. One did have a multi 5mm led petzl headlamp but it was his own purchase.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* dougie's Avatar
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Floppy View Post
    Much the same as some of the Australian ambulance services. Plastic 6V dolphin torches were the standard issue. I was asked to hold one as they were attending to a hurt drunk guy. One did have a multi 5mm led petzl headlamp but it was his own purchase.
    It never ceases to amaze me that professionals (whether, police, fire, ambulance etc) are regularly issued with some of the best equipment that money can buy except when it comes to a flashlight/torch. It seems to be a reoccurring story that in many places in the world professionals are either not supplied with a personal flashlight/torch or are given the cheapest rubbish available irrespective of whether or not that it's fit for purpose! Working at night is risky at the best of times and the lack of a good flashlight/torch can make the world of difference to the operator's own safety or survival as well as that of others.

    I guess that bean counters or desk pilots who make the decisions about what is and isn't worth buying for their staff are usually the ones who've never worked a night shift in their life?
    Last edited by dougie; 04-15-2013 at 12:39 PM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: British Police Flashlights over the past 30 years.

    I'm surprised they let you use such durable flashlights. Some of those look more than heavy enough to cause pain, possibly even minor injury, if they were used to hit someone.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 04-15-2013 at 07:49 AM.

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