Style police hit image of caped crusaders Review dents image of caped c rusaders

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The image of the police officer as a caped crusader took a further dent yesterday when a two-year review came up with a new look for the Metropolitan Police.

Out go the long raincoats with silver buttons, famous old police capes, and knitted ties. Ponytails have been banned and women must now "wear their hair close to their head but not bushy," say the Met's style police.

Jewellery, except wedding or signet rings, is also out of favour. "Earrings and nose jewellery will not be allowed as they could prove potential hazards," warn the authorities. Women in skirts are frowned upon.

Fashion watchers, however, may not be too excited by the replacements. In come new-look anoraks, ``Nato-style'' pullovers, high-visibility jackets, and a restyled equipment belt to enable officers to carry the new and controversial long baton.But on a more racy note, new styled motorcycle leathers are being introduced.

The design of the outfit has seen many changes since the first uniformed policemen stepped out on duty on 29 September 1829. They were clad in a blue swallow tail coat, white duck trousers with blue cloth in winter, and a black top hat lined with leather.