Police say they are ditching the old uniforms of the force's three counter-terrorism units, with officers being given a new one that's more practical, offers better protection and can meet operational needs.
Currently, elite officers from the airport security unit (ASU), the counter-terrorism response unit (CTRU) and the railway response team (RRT) each have their own uniforms, with officers in the latter two wearing regular police shirts.
ASU chief inspector Hung Yat-na said the force had reviewed the units' uniforms and decided to give them a facelift after studying the outfits worn by their counterparts in mainland China and overseas.
She said officers in the three units would be given a standardised uniform, but in different colours for easier identification. The new uniforms will be more breathable, with better tailoring, more pockets and soft pads on the ankles and shoulder.
ASU officers will keep their iconic navy blue colour, while the uniform for the CTRU will be grey-blue and the RRT's grey.
"Tactical units officers are required to respond to violent incidents or attacks in short notice without warning," she said. "The current force working dress and blue working dress are designed for general patrol or policing work. The new one is specifically designed for tactical application to fulfil operational requirements."
Hung declined to say if the new uniform would be able to resist knife or corrosive attacks, but said the force had taken the risks faced by officers into consideration when designing the new outfits.
She also said the epaulette showing an officer's ID number and rank had been moved to the top of the arm from the shoulder.
"Given the job nature of the tactical units, CTRU and RRT officers put on the weapons bag and ASU officers carry the MP5 sub-machine gun in hand while on patrol," Hung explained. "[Therefore] moving the epaulette to the upper arm and adding the English short-form of each unit could facilitate members of the public to clearly identify our officers."
The elite officers are expected to show off their new uniforms in the coming days – including on July 1, when Hong Kong marks the 25th anniversary of the handover.