GEORGE TOWN: It’s practically impossible to buy police equipment from shops selling the items here – even if you claim to be a police volunteer reserve (PVR) member.
A man claiming to be a PVR member was seen trying to buy a pair of handcuffs at a police accessories shop in Komtar but was not allowed to do so because he had no authority card.
He tried to convince the shopkeeper by saying he had an official policeman’s notepad but shopkeeper Mazali Mansor was having none of it. He refused to sell the RM98.50 handcuffs unless the man produced his police authority card or appointment certificate.
The man, who left the shop empty-handed, was spotted during a check on such shops on the island yesterday.
“He claimed he was recently appointed and his card was not ready,” said Mazali, a registered police accessories retailer for over 30 years in Komtar.
“I told him he must at least show me his appointment certificate which would be issued the moment he was accepted into the PVR.”
The Star checked on three shops here yesterday and tried to buy uniforms and accessories but all refused to sell items unless the police authority card was shown. There are four registered shops selling the items on the island.
Mazali said there had been customers who wanted to buy police uniforms because they were holding theme parties.
“But it is not possible. We have to record all our sales details and a police officer will come and check our records every month.”
Another such shop in busy Penang Road gets a lot of enquiries from tourists.
“They come in and ask to buy police badges or epaulettes as souvenirs, but we tell them politely that only police personnel can buy them,” said 5.11 Tactical Store manager Wan Putra Wan Hussein.
Wan Putra, who has been trading in police uniform accessories for four years, said he had to send monthly reports of his stock movement to the police station.
Police personnel and PVR members, he explained, were only issued one set of uniform each and had to buy extra sets from registered shops.
“Police work can sometimes be rough and they might lose a shirt button, for example, while on duty. So we sell such things.
“Those who are promoted will also buy their new rank badges from us if police stations are out of stock,” he added.
Wan Putra said owners of such shops needed police permits to carry out their business.
“It is strict here. Even if one police shirt button is not accounted for, my permit can be revoked. I am shocked to hear that uniforms can be freely bought in Kuala Lumpur.
“It is possible that such owners hire sales assistants and leave the shops to them. The sales assistants may just want to meet the sales quota,” he said.