A group made up of relatives and friends of police is urging the force to reverse its move to arm off-duty officers with extendable batons.

Police Relatives Connection said on Friday that giving officers the weapons to take home with them isn’t necessary, and crime suspects should only be arrested by police who are on-duty.

The group said officers who are not on shift should not be encouraged to try to deal with any offences they discover by themselves.

It said only officers who need a baton for protection should be armed when they are not at work, and even then, only after an assessment of their emotional state has been carried out to check whether they are suitable to carry one.

On Tuesday, the force announced that all officers will be allowed to carry extendable batons when they are off-duty, in light of the ongoing anti-government protests.