Essential Items to Keep in Your Patrol Car Bag: A Checklist for Police Officers

Essential Items to Keep in Your Patrol Car Bag: A Checklist for Police Officers
29 June 2023 Edited 5 October 2023

In the challenging and unpredictable world of policing, it’s vital to be prepared. 


A well-stocked bag to keep in your patrol car can make or break your shift. 


From much-needed emergency snacks to various equipment and clothing, if you fail to plan what you need, you plan to fail! 


Here's a detailed checklist of essentials to keep in your patrol car bag.

Essentials for Your Police Kit Bag

Emergency Snacks

Long hours and unpredictable situations are a staple of police work. You might not always have the opportunity to eat a full meal – so snacks are paramount. 


Keeping high-energy, non-perishable snacks like protein bars or nuts in your bag can help maintain your energy levels. Ensure these are items that won't spoil and can be eaten quickly.


Everyone has their favourite emergency snack – keep a hearty stash ready to draw from whenever you need them. 

Hand Sanitiser

Using hand sanitiser regularly is best practice. To prevent the spread of germs and keep yourself healthy, a small bottle of hand sanitiser is a must. 


Choose one with at least 60% alcohol for effective germ-killing.

Power Bank

Your electronic devices, such as your rechargeable torch, phone or GPS device, should be charged at all times. 


A reliable power bank ensures that these devices don't run out of battery during your shift, especially during long hours. 


Consider a power bank with a high capacity for multiple charges, and, of course, remember to recharge the power bank itself regularly. Keep multiple cables in case one breaks, or you lose one. 

Small Torch

Having a compact, high-lumen torch in your patrol car bag is essential for working in the evening or at night. 


A quality torch will assist you during night shifts, in poorly lit areas, or when searching vehicles or crime scenes. 

Black Niton Torch

Above: Niton Tactical Atom II Torch


Opt for a durable and waterproof torch that can withstand heavy-duty use.

Spare Police Forms

As you may already know, paperwork is an integral part of police work!


Having spare copies of essential forms, such as incident reports, witness statements, etc, ensures you're always ready to complete administrative tasks. 


Keeping them organised in a folder or envelope can help protect them from damage.

Gloves and Woolly Hat

Working in inclement weather or during cold nights can be challenging without the proper gear. 


Of course, in the UK, this is guaranteed!


Having a pair of warm gloves and a woolly hat in your bag can help protect you from the cold and keep you comfortable during your shift. 

Black Police wolly hat

Above: Mates Rates Watch Cap


Look for gloves that allow for sufficient dexterity, and choose a hat that provides warmth without impeding your hearing.

Knife Tubes and Evidence Bags

When it comes to crime scene investigations, collecting and preserving evidence is crucial. 


Having spare knife tubes and evidence bags on hand ensures you're prepared to collect and safeguard critical evidence, whether it's a weapon, substance, or item related to the incident. 

Spare Pens

Filling out paperwork and taking notes are regular parts of police work. Spare pens in your bag ensure you're always ready to jot down essential details or complete forms. Don’t be without a pen – that might create an awkward situation! 


It might be helpful to carry different types of pens, such as permanent markers for labelling evidence bags.

Personal First Aid Kit 

A compact first aid kit is essential for handling minor injuries. 


At the minimum, your kit should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, medical tape, and pain medication. 


Regularly check the contents of your kit to replace used items and ensure medications haven't expired. Keep the kit clean and dry, and replace any worn or damaged materials immediately. 


You should always keep a spare stash of batteries for torches, communication devices and other electronic devices. 


You might need a mix of AAs, AAAs and even D batteries for some torches. It might be more economical to use rechargeable batteries. 

Communication Devices and Accessories

Ensuring that you can stay connected and pass on important information is crucial in police work.


  • Radio Earpiece: Having a radio earpiece will help ensure that you can communicate clearly without your conversations being overheard by those nearby. An earpiece can also help in loud environments where hearing your radio can be challenging.
  • Mobile Phone: Keeping a personal mobile phone in your patrol bag can be a backup in case of radio failure or when confidentiality is needed.
  • Notebook: Besides spare pens, keep a durable notebook to jot down important notes during your shift. Opt for a waterproof or weather-resistant notebook that can withstand various conditions.

Summary: Essential Items to Keep in Your Patrol Car Bag

Your patrol car bag should be filled with tools and items to support you during your shift. 


Everything from communication devices, snacks, gloves, hats, first aid kits, paperwork, and pens must have a dedicated place in the patrol car bag. 


By keeping this bag well-stocked and organised, police officers can ensure they have everything they need at their fingertips, regardless of what their shift throws at them.

Patrol Bag FAQs

How can I keep my patrol car bag organised?

Organisation is key to ensuring that you can quickly find what you need in an emergency. Consider using small pouches or bags to group similar items together. 


Then, regularly tidy up your bag and return everything to its dedicated place after use.

What are the best snacks to take to work?

Some excellent choices include protein bars, nuts, dried fruits and jerky. It’s best to choose non-perishable packaged goods. 

Do I need a first aid kit?

It’s wise to carry a personal first aid kit to handle minor injuries. Its portability also means you can take it with you while away from the vehicle. You should also leave one in the vehicle.