When I started I was issued a wooden truncheon that had a leather strap and it all slid into a special pocket on my woollen trousers. I was then isued a Monadnock PR24 and then an MX21 and finally an ASP. In over 25 years I only ever drew out the wooden truncheon and that was only once and only to break a window with it.
Never had a cape but the Great Coat certaily meant that getting to any of your equipment was going to take a while.
At least these days the equipment is a bit more accessible and you get training in it's use. The training I had for my truncheon was thus:
1. Never take your truncheon out unless instructed to do so by an Inspector or above
2. Never take your truncheon out unless it is a last resort
3. If you have to take your truncheon out then hit them with it as hard as you possibly can
I must say I did like the PR24 but it was more cumbersome and trickier to use effectively. The MX21 was of all of them my preferred one and this felt right and proper. The Asp I never really liked and it never really felt like I could trust it. My old force still issue something along the lines of the ASP I had issued but it is a cheaper version, and apparently it can give you blisters on your fingers ( @Beaker ).