Last updated at 4:26 PM on 28th February 2012
Guidance: Essex Police has urged female officers to avoid wearing bras with metal parts (file picture)
Female police officers have been urged to wear 'comfortable' underwear from retailers like Marks and Spencer while on duty incase they get shot.
Essex Police have written to all their female officers urging them to avoid underwired bras containing metal objects as they might cause more 'ballistic damage'.
Force bosses have explained that any metal parts of the bra could be driven into the skin and cause more damage if female officers are shot on duty.
The letter to all female officers reads: 'Although there is no such thing as a bullet-proof bra, a good comfortable fitted non-wired bra from a retailer like Marks & Spencer would help prevent ballistic damage.
'Body armour has to be close fitting and you should wear a bra that does not contain metal objects.
'You should not wear underwired bras as the metal can be driven into the skin causing more damage.'
A spokeswoman for Essex Police said the force’s health and safety officers supported the advice.
But one unnamed female constable said: 'It’s a bit bizarre, as while obviously our safety is being taken seriously, the chances of getting shot in Essex are very small.'
The advice by Essex Police follows Home Office official guidance on lingerie.
Essex Police said it was important female officers wore 'comfortable, fitted' bras to avoid ballistic damage
It reads: 'The Home Office Scientific Development Branch have always advised officers that body armour should be close fitting to the body and hard objects such as metal buttons, press studs, badges and the like should never be placed beneath body armour.
'If this advice is followed there should be no need for female officers to wear specially padded protection at the bust area as the trauma protection provided by body armour certified to HOSDB standards is sufficient to prevent serious injury - although the wearing of padded bras will not adversely affect the safety of the wearer providing they contain no metallic/plastic wiring.'
Comfort: Essex Police recommended female officers wear non-wired bras like some of those sold at Marks and Spencer (pictured)
'The problem only arises if an officer is shot; there should be little or no problems with any additional injury caused as a result of a knife attack as the risk of trauma injury is much greater will ballistic attack than knife attack.'
A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said today: 'One in five British women choose M&S for their lingerie because we offer a wide range of every type of bras – both wired and non-wired – which are designed to give a flattering fit, whilst providing great comfort and high levels of support.'
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