back to article Women coppers eager to drop trousers

Blighty's female coppers are none too happy with their current standard-issue police strides, which they claim makes them look like a “a sack of potatoes” and, worse still, sport a Simon Cowell-style high waistband. The problem, the Times reports, is that women officers are lumbered either with trousers which were designed for …


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  1. Jim Coleman

    Well now.

    Personally I think they should wear black stockings and a short skirt. Maybe a bit of a heel too. And that goes for the women as well.

  2. Luis Ogando
    Paris Hilton


    Simple solution. Just get a load of the hotpant-styled WPC outfits left over from the Benny Hill show. This will also prevent ne're-do-wells from running away too quick (unless accompanied by piped version of Yackety Sax, of course).

    Maybe they'd like me to 'take something down in evidence!' Fnaar!

  3. NogginTheNog


    So if they have their way and get something a little more fashionable do this mean we'll be inundated with women police officers' whale tails?? What that'd do for respect and authority God only knows.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Mental flashback

    Adrienne Barbeau - Cannonball Run (I or II?) - Lamborghini Countach - seduces traffic policemen with a spandex outfit - runs foul of a lady policeman in a tight dress.

  5. Ash
    Thumb Up

    Change the unofirm

    This gent looks comfortable enough.

    We all know it's what Gordo wants! Still, I do think that the police need a new uniform.

  6. Sam Liddicott
    Thumb Down

    A common mistake

    Companies spend thousands on recruitment and training each staff member, and claim to really "value" their staff, and then try and save £5 on a bit of comfort which makes a lie of the whole thing.

    It's the same in the IT crowd; £5,000 or more can be spent on agency fees and the company begrudges spending 10% of that on a decent working equipment.

    (My employer is NOT like that; we get decent desks and chairs, pick our own keyboard and mouse, and a double 22 inch monitor setup)


  7. Sampler

    I vote for these - 1st choice - 2nd :D

  8. Richard Johnson


    Aha! A new expenses controversy: police officers get trousers provided by the state. I have to buy my own trousers. How disgraceful, etc, etc.

  9. Jason Togneri
    IT Angle

    Just out of curiosity

    How long do you guys spend tweaking your headlines to make them sound as filthy and perverted as possible? Is there an average length of time? Is it under two hours?

  10. Daniel

    I fail to see the IT angle here

    I will observe however, that if you take a look at the women police officers patroling the streets of my hometown of Hexham; those officers are as flattered by their clotthes, at what's inside the clothing, warrants: many of them would look hot in a space suit.

    Maybe women need this spelling out to them more explicitly: a bum either IS big or ISN'T big. The clothes do not make it LOOK big. A high waistline is no more unflattering than the canister of pepper spray, the walkie-talkie, the torch, the pouches, or the nightstick (although I'm sure there are men, enough, that find that kind of thing a turn on, too).

  11. Anonymous Coward


    What's wrong with putting them back into skirts?

    And the men too.

    Lets face it - drunk idiots on a Friday night are going to think twice about taking a swing at a copper who's hard enough to wear a skirt about town :)

  12. Richard Cartledge
    Paris Hilton

    Like hello

    Has ANYONE heard of a skirt?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    May I be the first to say

    Anything you say will be taken down.

  14. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Yeah, right!

    The men's trousers don't exactly look like they just came out of Milan either, daaaahling. I'm sure some poor Bobette on the mean streets, just about to take on a violent drunk, is going to stop and ask "Does the high waistband make my arse look fat in these?" - not! This sounds like more "equality" griping from those furthest from the coalface. IIRC, policewomen still have the option of skirts if they are worried about looking feminine, you can always argue with the Scots whether they make suitable fighting apparel. I'm sure there are other areas of the Police budget where money could be better spent rather than "fashionable" trousers.

  15. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Just out of curiosity

    It's pure instinct in most cases, Jason.

    Daniel - you have much to learn about the alchemy of dressing. Any woman can reduce or increase the apparent size of her arse by several percent according to what she wears. It's all about creating optical illusions.

    Sorry, I'll get out of the way so the rest of you can continue fantasising about women and trousers and skirts and legs and bums and things and post it out loud on the internet. As you were.

  16. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    oh, and

    If you think female police officers should wear skirts you are ridiculous and should forfeit your entire brain.

  17. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    Change Supplier!

    I know of a few suppliers who could provide women's police uniforms that are MUCH more feminine.... with the added benefit that I wouldn't object to being cuffed by an attractive WPC wearing one!

    <-the long mucky one with the "specialist" mail order catalogue, ta....!

  18. Lee Worthington
    Paris Hilton

    Bloody women!

    Bournemouth constable Alis Pugh said: “Most of the female officers have gone for the men’s trousers because they are just more comfortable but they are really high-waisted and unflattering. I know it’s not a fashion parade, but it would be nice to be comfortable.”

    Well....... are blokes pants more comfortable or not?

    Paris because life is just one big fashion parade!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    I knew...

    ...that Ms Bee would be making an appearance in these comments. It's articles like this that need the moderating (btw, still none-too-happy with your premature foreshortening of my erotic literature!)

    Anyway, it's all fantasy - it's like saying all policemen are hunks. I went on a night out with my mate and her police colleagues and was severely disappointed - there was only one I'd even consider (after several sambuccas another did enter the field, but...)

  20. Matthew Glubb

    @sarah bee

    Presumably that won't be much of a forfeit then?

  21. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: I knew...

    >>I went on a night out with my mate and her police colleagues and was severely disappointed - there was only one I'd even consider (after several sambuccas another did enter the field, but...)

    Imagine the expression on my face right now.

    I have to put up with the schoolboy thigh-rubbing and other borderline dubiousness but I draw the line at homemade porn in the threads, you chancer.

  22. Jason Togneri

    @ Sarah Bee

    "If you think female police officers should wear skirts you are ridiculous and should forfeit your entire brain."

    What makes you think these commentards (obviously not including myself here) have anything to forfeit?

  23. darkmooink

    @sarah bee

    I think female police officers should wear skirts and here is my entire brain.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they'll be wanting the right to vote next

    women, we let them out of the kitchen every now and again, hell, some of them even drive, and they're still not happy

  25. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    Brain Forfeiture?

    "If you think female police officers should wear skirts you are ridiculous and should forfeit your entire brain."

    It's Friday, I left it at home, sorry....

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problems with Skirts

    My understanding is that the problem with skirts is that there have been nasty injuries caused by a fire, the funnel effect of a skirt and nylon underwear.

  27. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    It's just PC gone mad..

    "BAWP's Liz Owsley explained: “Women police officers have constantly brought up the fact they do not have a proper uniform. If you are going out there, protecting the public and being in confrontational circumstances, you need to feel professional and confident."

    "FART's* Johnathon McDangler explained: "Women police officers, well, they're a laugh really, eh?"

    * Females Are Rotten Thief-takers

  28. Frank

    Some Demonstrable Facts Please

    This article would be much better if it had a gallery of pictures of policewomen in the various uniform options available to them. Ideally, it would include policewomen from various countries so that we could gain an international perspective on this so-called problem.

  29. Wize

    'Size 12'

    Trouble is, a size 12 varies from shop to shop. At least with blokes trousers the size is in something measurable and fixed in good old fashioned inches.

    If women's clothes were sold by a measurement rather than an arbitrary size number, there would be a load of women cutting the tags out their clothes.

  30. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    Police may not be at fault

    Having been out buying technical equipment with the g/f we noticed a big difference between men's and women's offerings. The men's would always have enough pockets/loops/whatever. The women's stuff was always "cut for style" and that meant not enough pockets/armour or anything to be of much use. i.e. not fit for purpose.

    Buying a suit/dress - yeah, you'd want to look good. When buying technical equipment, looking good is secondary to it saving your life. "Oh, we don't fit armour to the women's trousers as it makes their hips look big." WTF? On my walking trousers I have hee-ooj cargo pockets etc, from the same company and in the same style, she gets pockets barely big enough for a hanky.

    Perhaps plod could have been a bit more forceful in their procurement, but they were probably taking advice from the "experts" (clothing makers) and as the g/f and I found out; they're a bunch of numpties. How hard is it so think "Looking good but seriously injured...versus...looking a bit lumpy but dry, comfortable and safe....hmmm...."

    Best thing for a female officer to do would be to get male trousers a size or so too big and have a tailor alter. It's stupid, I agree, but at least they'd fit!

  31. Karim Bourouba

    Sorry, post verging on sense

    Is it wrong of me to suggest that our WPC's stop worrying if they look ok on duty and maybe get on with some policing? As important as looking good at work may be, possibly our police constables could be concentrating on apprehending criminals and reducing crime?

    Totally ready for being torn apart over this one.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jim Coleman

    You should come along to the next Mason's meeting then!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Cops in strechpants...


  34. Steve


    I couldn't care less...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The uniforms should be functional. Yes, they should look professional, but allowing a more flattering cut (which is what I'm guessing the fuss is about) is counter-productive. The uniform is used to present a consistent image. Seriously... if a female cop shows up with cleavage and tries to corral a bunch of drunk guys, the tone is going to be different than if she looked the same as all the other cops. I'm also betting that the back-stabbing women seem to prefer when talking about each other would be just as bad as what I get to see where I work. Then there is the expectation of whether something more curvatious has to be worn to be promoted or not. Just too much stupidity so some woman can feel more attractive in a uniform.

    I really don't want to see the cops where I live wearing 'baby doll' shirts and hip-hugger bell bottoms. Just not practical. I want a cop that looks like any other cop and is going to consistently be fair. Why do would I want to deal with a cop that's more concerned with the way she looks. We have enough of a problem with female clerks more concerned with their hair and nails than dealing with the public at our court houses (cell phones seem to be a universal problem). I wouldn't want to deal with that if I were pulled over.

    Waist and inseam are just that, a standardized way to measure what one's size is. Women's sizes require some archaic knowledge and secret code to decipher. I'm really curious as to why this came about. Who was the first person to use one number for a piece of clothing that could be used to fit any body type.

  36. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: uniforms

    Could everyone read that again, carefully, and then decide what I deserve in the way of flowers and shoes and chocolates and bubblebath and fluffy cuddly bunnies for putting up with this crap?

  37. Adam Silver badge


    It isn't a case of looks. The issue trousers really are awful, putting the waistband around you waist puts the seat somewhere below the knees, and it isn't possible to run apprehend criminals if you keep tripping over your trousers. Moving the waistband higher is the best option but is really uncomfortable under a stab vest.

    You'll note that Thames Valley, now with a female chief constable, is moving to more sensible clothing for all officers.

  38. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: uniforms

    (And Jack Daniels.)

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Skirting around the issue

    Chocolates? Flowers? Shoes?

    The truth: it's only stereotyping when men perpetrate. Inpenetrable, immovable; resolutely true. only the young IT crowd (would) bother to rail against it. Wisened and wiser, the rest of maledom accept such truths at face value, then cladestinely carry on as before (when a woman says something, and there is no man around to hear it, does that make him still wrong?).

    Now if you'll excuse me -- I'll be down the pub downing pints of heavy, discussing cars and power tools whilst leering at the bar maid, in a state of drunkenly cacooned catharthis.

  40. Jerry Masterson

    Re: uniforms

    Yeah, yeah, let's get back to skirts.

    If Milla Jovovich can kick ass in a skirt why can't the ladies in blue? Poor training?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: uniforms

    I think it is a valid point that WPCs should be fighting crime rather than worrying about fashion. I mean, yes, they should be in a standard uniform that is comfortable and useful for their day-to-day needs but it should not be some sort of "sexy" image. Image is useful and matters a lot when dealing with people, which is why most of the readers here are in Metallica t-shirts with long, lank hair, otherwise their crudentials as UNIX admins would be questioned...

    On a related note, standardisation is a very important part of the uniform - know a guy who had a beard whilst on the force and that made him a target in the line of riot cops during the fun times to be had in the early 80s!

    AC as I'd rather not risk the wrath of a flower-swinging, shoe-clomping, chocolate-dribbling, bubbly Bee with her ravaging pack of man-devouring, fanged bunnies...

  42. The BigYin

    @Sarah Bee

    The AC is right about one thing - women's sizes are stupid. Why can't you just buy a pair of trousers/skirt with waist X and length Y? Or a blouse with chest X and collar Y? The stupid size numbers are creeping into men's clothes as well. Am I a 42 or a 44? I dunno. Depends on the country. and is just bloody stupid. I know my waist/collar/inseam etc and they won't change unless I do. Much easier.

    As to the rest of the misogynistic balls...I think he got the reaction he wanted.

  43. Pat

    @Sarah Bee

    Re: chocolate bubblebaths

    I'm sure you deserve the best, but take it up with Lester's expense account for his byline "Women coppers eager to drop trousers".

    El Reg knows we're only going to go down from there.

  44. Jason Togneri

    @ Sarah Bee

    Altogether now, everybody: awwwwwwwwwwwwww!

  45. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Skirting around the issue

    Yeah, yeah, well done, you're the arbiter of ultimate PC-blasting he's-saying-what-we're-all-thinking truth. I can't even be bothered to argue any more.

  46. Andrew Tyler


    They ought to do like female officers in the States: cover their waistline with an assortment of weapons. Once you have your belt on with your teargas, club, taser, pistol, ammunition, and handcuffs, it doesn't much matter what your pants look like.

  47. McFlurry
    Paris Hilton

    here here...

    ... I know lots of female officers who just do not get on with womens trousers. One friend tried some on and it made her look like she was wearing trousers far too big for her. In the end she got some mens trousers and the tayloress took some length out of them.

    What is more worrying is our force (oh it's my part time job by the way) has done away with male and female stabbies. Now they all get unisex ones which are too short for the blokes and don't give enough room for the women. I'm worried I might end up with one when I reach the use by dates on the plates in my one.

    Paris doesn't want saggy pants...

  48. Alice Andretti

    Front-pleated pants that look like big dicks

    (oops, is that too lewd a title? hope not)

    The Moderatrix wrote: "Any woman can reduce or increase the apparent size of her arse by several percent according to what she wears. It's all about creating optical illusions."

    Sometimes the optical illusions built-into some men's clothing, are not so good for women. For a little while I had to wear a company uniform which had allegedly-unisex (men's, basically) pants that had heavily-starched stick-out pleats and extra fabric in the *front* which bulged out (nothing there but air), making it look like I was walking around all day with a big huge dick.

    Sideways view in a window or mirror was like, OMG WTF, <pat pat> smooth down the fabric, take a few steps, stupid pleats pop up the fabric again. Mind you my height/weight ratio is fine - this was a designed-in "fabric malfunction" ;)

    I got tired of it - wasn't quite the image I wanted to project to my customers and the public, so I snuck in my own un-pleated look-alike pants (same except for no pleats) to wear for work. It was a fairly loose-run company, no formal inspections or anything, so I was able to get away with it (the bosses didn't notice, and I didn't tell them) - problem solved. It would not have done any good to complain or demand special clothing, so I didn't bother, instead just solved the problem on my own.

    Ordinarily men's casual clothes like jeans, shirts, t-shirts, etc., are fine, but it's not so good (at least for women) when they start adding stupid stuff like stick-out pleats that make it look like you've got a giant unit in front down there.

    For the record, in case any of you men readers are wondering: my arse size is just fine thank you very much :)

  49. Andrew Fraser

    I am all for the female coppers

    Skirts or Trousers, they should be encouraged and support to wear what ever helps them do their job.

    I have been the victim of no less than 4 armed holdup's while working in various off licenses.

    The first one was the most upsetting, as the scum came in, and started throwing wine bottles at my head. (I was there alone) They raided the cash and ciggies and fled, leaving me shaken, covered in merlot, and leaking claret.

    The cops were speedy and great, and I have to say, nothing helps a tramatised victim like a hug from a woman.

    No, I am not being a sexist schoolboy, admittedly she was cute, but she was nice enough to offer a hug, to a poor guy who has just been bashed and tramatised.

    More lady cops! Stop being cheap Mr Brown, and give them what they need, prehaps with all the money your getting back with those repaid "accidiental expenses"

    @ Ms Bee - Would a large bottle of JD 20yr old help ?

  50. Alice Andretti

    I thought the article would be a Playmobil scene...

    ...where women cops giving naughty men spankings after said men drop their trowsers :)

    Shame, shame, *bad* Reg and Mr. Haines <spank! spank!> for pandering to page-views like that :)

  51. Mike
    Thumb Up


    posted by Anonymous Coward on Friday 22nd May 2009 14:48 GMT

    CRUDentials - gotta remember that one!

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Big dicks, and the arse issue

    I suppose Alice, that would be the female equivalent of a T-shirt sagging, bestowing the illusion of man boobs on its wearer. Precisely this happens when girlfriends start using them as nightshirts.

    Moving on and carefully, regarding womens' arses - ie. the fairer seats - unless you're batting for Oprah, I'd keep those inches where they are; why give us less to ogle at?

  53. raving angry loony

    bloody idiots

    The main thing here isn't that they clothes are flattering, it's that THEY DON'T BLOODY FIT! Which isn't surprising, if the trousers are designed for men. The uniform makers need to get out of the 1950s and realize that both men and women wear trousers, but men and women have different basic shapes and require different design.

  54. Dick Emery

    Japan is superior

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's a uniform, you have no choice, wear it and shut up, if they were being forced to wear ass-less trousers i might be able to understand.

    There is hundreds of thousands of people that have to wear a uniform every day and I'm fairly sure a lot of them don't like it but they have to because it's a requirement for the job.

    Put the bloody trousers on and shut up

  56. Frank

    @Alice Andretti re. Front-pleated pants...

    I've had that problem with front pleats in trousers, especially when I sit down. It's embarassing and looks like I'm smuggling a baby rabbit.

    The trick is to sew down the top two inches of the pleat, from the waistband down, along the pleat fold. If you're really clever you could sew it from inside the pleat so the stitching doesn't show. Then, the area between the pleats is prevented from billowing out.

    It's amazing the little tricks you learn as you go through life.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Trousers are SUPPOSED to be worn above the hips, that's what your hips are for!

    How do men wear their trousers? Why can't women wear trousers the same way?

    It's not a fashion parade.

    If you want better trousers, go out and buy some.

  58. jake Silver badge

    Budget cuts. @Alice Andretti

    There is a time and a place to cut budgets. Properly fitted clothing, from hat to boots, being part of the tools of the trade (any trade!), is not one of them. When purchasing tools, always purchase the best. Doing otherwise is fool-hardy, and sometimes dangerous.

    In this modern era, I'm absolutely appalled that whoever is in charge of making decisions like this is apparently unaware that men and women have different shapes. He (and I'm certain it is a "he") needs to be properly educated on the subject, preferably thru' being fired for gross incompetence.

    As for the concept that "if they look different from the men, they will stand out", that's just daft. They DO look different from the men if their trousers don't fit properly!

    Alice: I hope you're ready for the 14yo set asking you to post proof or retract ;-)

  59. E_Nigma

    Simple Facts

    If female officers have been wearing such trousers for 35 years (as Liz Owsley mentioned), then it is a proven fact that wearing them does not prevent police women from doing their job.

    As for the comments such as "The issue trousers really are awful, putting the waistband around you waist puts the seat somewhere below the knees, and it isn't possible to run apprehend criminals if you keep tripping over your trousers.", that's rubbish. The seat almost certainly is a tad lower than it should be on a woman's trousers, but with all due respect to our anatomical differences, assuming that the total length is right there should be no problems with walking and running, or else men would suffer the same problems. (waist to knee) / (knee to ankle) ratio on a man and on a woman simply does not differ that much (it's pretty much the same, actually).

    A police officer that does not feel confident that she is capable of doing her job because uniform, that allows her to move normally, makes her, in her opinion, look like a sack of potatoes does not sound very professional and trustworthy to me.

    All that said, I'm still a little shocked to hear that after all these years the UK Police does not offer trousers tailored for women to their female officers. Same colour, material belts and everything else as the men's, nothing fancy or designed to make an arse smaller or prettier, but still tailored a tad differently.

  60. Jeffrey Nonken

    @Sarah Bee

    How about a backrub and a foot massage?

    I love the compassion shown here. Scrooge would be proud.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think I'd become a lesbian if I were a woman reading this thread.

    It's perfectly reasonible to want a nice looking uniform that is functional. This does not mean a sexy uniform, or a tight uniform, or anything like that, it means a NICE and PROFESSIONAL looking uniform. Maybe I'm a bit more sympathetic in the differences in men and woman's clothing as I took some fashion/tailoring class a long time ago. Really, have none of you ever been stuck with a bad fitting uniform before?

  62. mr.K

    Come on guys...

    Take a long hard look at your imaginary girlfriends from the waist down, counting the waist, and then compare what you see with your own body. Do you notice any differences?

    Recent science have revealed that men and women have different shape.

    Is it so hard to comprehend that a pair of trousers designed to fit a male body may not be a perfect fit on a female body?

    Yes, it is a minor issue, but it is equally a minor issue to solve as well. They only want clothes that fit. And they don't want special considerations, they only want to look equally professional as their male counterparts.

    Now I will get my coat and leave.

  63. skeptical i

    Uniforms should fit reasonably properly, period.

    While there will always be fashion- bunnies who think that not looking like a sack of potatoes is actually relevant to one's job performance, the fact remains that if the uniform pants do not fit properly the employee will probably not be able to do her/his job to the best of her/his ability. Because most women have wider hips than men relative to their waists, they often have to choose between men's pants that are too tight around the hips (so that the waist is reasonably close) or pants that ride high with a too- big waist so that the hip area fits well (which is important when sitting or running). Neither option allows for the ease- of- movement I ass+u+me is important to police officers. If the police department does not want to supply properly- fitting pants, it ought to provide free alteration service so that what is issued can be made to work.

  64. Andus McCoatover

    Sorry, Moderatrix - has to be done....


    How does a policewoman part her hair?

    "Evening, all"


    (Joke's lost on people with colour TV's. And Merkans. 'Specially)

    I gorrit, and have left already.

  65. Seán

    Std uniform +tailor

    Give out a standard uniform and a few bucks then take it to a tailor and have the damn thing fitted properly. It works.

  66. Mithvetr

    They Don't Fit

    Sarah Bee said:

    "If you think female police officers should wear skirts you are ridiculous and should forfeit your entire brain."

    Without wanting to sound hopelessly outdated and retro here... Skirts *are* actually still an option provided by forces - at least I'm not aware of any that don't offer them if requested. So what if women officers actually *want* to wear skirts? It does happen. Some argue that they prefer skirts and give various reasons. I believe that they should wear skirts if it's their personal preference. Do I still have to forfeit my brain?

    And I was gearing up to lay into the "WPCs should be fighting crime rather than worrying about their looks" crowd, but I've noticed there are one or two people towards the bottom of the page who're starting to catch on to what the article actually *said*. The BAWP's complaint isn't about whether female officers are fashionable - it's whether the clothing they're being supplied with actually fits them. Yes, there was the mention of 'looking like a sack of spuds', but that's due to the fact that the men's trousers and the supposedly 'unisex' trousers are made to fit men, and therefore don't properly fit women. If your company made you wear uniform that didn't fit you, because the firm hadn't worked out or refused to acknowledge that men and women are basically different shapes, wouldn't *you* complain?

    It's not about looking sexy. It's more about an officer having to spend 9-12 hours - plus unplanned, short-notice, compulsory overtime - walking around, driving around or, in most cases, sitting around doing paperwork in trousers that were irritating her almost as soon as she put them on before coming to work. And I mean 'irritating' as in 'causing physical irritation' rather than 'tsk, I'm really irritated that I don't look utterly gorgeous in these trousers'.

    Police-issue trousers appear in any case to be made from hessian cunningly interwoven with razor wire.

    (Oh, and, accepting there will be howls of Daily Mail outrage at the political correctness of it all, they're not WPCs any more. Just PCs is fine.)

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