CHARLOTTETOWN -- RCMP in Nova Scotia have conducted a mass destruction of nearly seven tonnes of used gear because of concerns related to the pandemic and about the gear being used to impersonate officers.

Cpl. Mark Skinner says 6.92 tonnes of gear, including uniform shirts, pants, body armour, boots and other items, was incinerated earlier this week at a facility in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

He says used gear is normally destroyed by local detachments, but the mass burning was ordered this year because it was the "safest way" to address worries about handling worn clothing during the pandemic.

Skinner says the force also had concerns that the used uniforms could be used to impersonate officers, following the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting when a gunman disguised as an RCMP officer killed 22 people.

He says the mass incineration was done in anticipation of provincial legislation that would govern the resale of decommissioned police equipment and gear.

Jim Hoskins is a retired Halifax police officer. He says he supports to the move to destroy used gear but adds many retired members have kept items as souvenirs.

"These are different times and if you want to minimize access to police equipment to prevent something like the Portapique disguise going around, then you might have to have some stringent stuff like that, and better quality control in your own police department," said Hoskins.

Authorities in Nova Scotia have said they will introduce legislation this session about the use of police accessories and decommissioned police vehicles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Bruce Frisko.