Long ago, their most frequent customers were policemen, from constables to higher-ranking ones. Apart from these, the fire department, excise, army and other disciplinary services too visit these shops for their purchases.

Slowly, as the Police Department began to stock its own canteens, stores selling the police articles on the Madina Building stretch are on their last leg, or that is what the dwindling footfalls at the half-a-dozen shops located on the stretch near the Baad-e-Shahi Ashoorkhana indicate.

The stores, a few years down the line, used to attract hundreds of policemen from across the State for uniform and accessories. Right from batons (lathis), whistles, badges and caps of different uniformed services, a law enforcer could get anything needed to complete his uniform.

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A few shops on the stretch are four to five decades old and are run by third or fourth generation family members. “We are here for the last 50 years. The shop was set up by our grandfather, and now, my son manages affairs here.

Earlier, the shops used to be crowded whenever training schedules were announced or promotions were announced. For every promotion, at least some accessory in the uniform changes,” said MA Mannan of A to Z Police Stores.

Apart from police uniform accessories, the stores also sell articles which complete the uniforms of forces, including the Prohibition and Excise, Legal Metrology, Fire Services and Home Guards. A few others here sell uniforms of paramilitary forces as well.

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“Now, the sales are dwindling and to make some earnings, we are selling other goods such as bags, cloth and materials for security guards like whistles, torches and lathis and so on.

Otherwise, there is no use of running the stores since police canteens in all districts are now selling the uniform material and accessories,” said another shopkeeper.

The shops are quite popular among primary schoolchildren too during the fancy dress competitions since they also stock small police caps, whistles and toy pistols. #KhabarLive