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Is this the type of headgear PSNI officers will be wearing in the future?

The baseball caps currently worn in Cheshire by force formerly run by Simon Byrne
The baseball caps currently worn in Cheshire by force formerly run by Simon Byrne
Simon Byrne
The baseball caps currently worn in Cheshire by force formerly run by Simon Byrne
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

A PSNI review into police uniforms currently being finalised could see officers wearing US-style baseball hats.

A formal review of the current bottle green uniform was launched in 2018 after officers gave feedback about the PSNI's traditional uniform.

No decisions have been taken as a result of the review, although a spokesperson for the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) said that some uniform changes have already been made and "more will follow".

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd, who has responsibility for uniforms within the PSNI, did confirm that a polo shirt has been introduced for some of the organisation's non-public facing roles.

"This is not new uniform but items currently in use across other roles within the service," said Mr Todd.

"This minor change has commenced with full support from staff associations within the organisation.

"We constantly review how our uniform remains practical, comfortable and fit for purpose."

A PFNI spokesperson said it welcomes and supports Chief Constable Simon Byrne's commitment to an "urgent review" of the uniform.

"What's key here is that officers have a uniform that is comfortable, practical and durable for operational 21st century policing," continued the spokesperson.

"Some changes have already been introduced and more will follow.

"The PFNI is fully participating in the review that is taking place.

"We have no doubt that the end result will be the delivery of a better, fit-for-purpose uniform for our men and women."

Mr Byrne introduced an American-style baseball cap while he was in charge of Cheshire Police.

Cheshire's police officers were the first in the UK to have introduced the hard caps to all front line officers in 2016, which were considered to be more comfortable and practical.

The unisex cap, which was half the cost of the classic 'custodian' tall helmets in England, has been worn by sergeants, constables, inspectors and chief inspectors.

Upper Bann MLA and Policing Board member Dolores Kelly said that while she hasn't seen the details of the review, she does know that both the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the Fire Service are both looking at the needs of women in relation to uniform.

"They currently, as I understand it, don't provide uniforms for women who are pregnant - they just have to get a bigger size," she explained.

"There's also talk of older women employed in those services going through the menopause. Provisions need to be made then for those changes that us poor women have to endure.

"Across emergency services there is a need to look at gender requirements and conditions."

The SDLP representative added that she does expect to hear more about the PSNI's review at September's Policing Board resources committee meeting.

The last major change to PSNI uniforms came in 2002 as the transition from the RUC took place.

At the time the uniform was branded as "green, white and gold" by some unionists.

The main uniform change was the switch from the green shirt worn by rank and file RUC officers to a white shirt.

Among the changes were waterproofed forage caps, leather boots, the option of wearing short sleeved open neck shirts or long sleeved shirts with ties, and for rural patrols, the new patrol cap.

Former Policing Board chairman Professor Desmond Rea described the launch of the uniform as a "very significant and symbolic step" for policing in the province.

Belfast Telegraph


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