POLICE IS BACK ON THE BEAT--FOR NOW

Times Pop Music Critic

Ever since the Amnesty International tour began its six-city U.S. itinerary June 4 in San Francisco, there have been rumors of a surprise reunion of the Police--probably the most popular band to emerge from Britain's late-'70s new-wave movement.

The rumor turned into reality Wednesday night as guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland walked on stage at the Omni here with Sting, who had performed on the first three Amnesty shows with the jazz-oriented musicians who accompanied him on his own tour last year.

The trio--augmented by keyboardist Kenny Kirkland and two female backup singers from Sting's band, performed five Police songs, including the Grammy-winning "Every Breath You Take" and "Roxanne"--in a half-hour set that was wildly received by the 12,000 fans.

But everyone involved with the band was quick to say that fans shouldn't use the show to jump to conclusions about a permanent reunion. Since the band's last performance in March, 1984, the group has been on what it calls an "open sabbatical" while members work on individual projects.

Said Sting the morning after the show here: "We had all sorts of enormous offers to do concerts together this summer but I thought this--Amnesty--was a much better idea. It should show that our relationship still exists. . . . That we are still friends. . . . But the shows don't mean anything more than that for the moment.

"We pretty much went through the show on emotions tonight. It should be a lot better musically by Sunday."

The Police is scheduled to perform on the final two Amnesty shows, tonight in Chicago and Sunday at the 12-hour televised concert at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Sunday concert will be televised live on MTV.

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