Proposed uniform unveiled for pilot scheme
If you were out and about yesterday you may have seen some very different looking PSNI officers on the streets.
That's because a three-month pilot has been launched for a proposed new uniform for the force.
The new get-up features bottle green T-shirts and hats emblazoned with the PSNI crest.
Chief Constable Simon Byrne said the current uniform has been in use since the formation of the PSNI some 20 years ago and "it is right that we should look at how effective it is".
A total of 150 members of the force of different ranks are taking part in the pilot scheme.
"It is important that we equip our front line officers with professional, modern workwear, which is fit for purpose, that's why we are reviewing how our uniform remains practical and comfortable in support of our officers as they perform their duties," said Mr Byrne.
"In developing the new uniform options we have listened to feedback from front line officers and the Police Federation. Our officers work at the heart of communities and therefore it is also fitting that we listen to what communities think during the pilot phase."
Blogger and stylist Maria Macfarlane, who has more than 11,000 followers on Instagram, praised the new look.
"I think the modernisation of the uniform is a sartorial step toward the future of the PSNI," she said.
"I think the new look is slick yet still practical and in keeping with a more modern era. The uniform stays true to the classic bottle green colour with a new athletic shaped top with a more breathable collar that is then paired with the redesigned hat emblazoned with the PSNI crest. This is definitely a stylish nod to the new decade of policing in Northern Ireland."
The Police Federation has welcomed the pilot scheme.
Chairman Mark Lindsay said: "This three-month trial is the right course to take.
"Officers at the coalface are best qualified to deliver judgment as to how fit for purpose and practical the proposed new uniforms are.
"This Federation fully supports the new look operational uniform. We are very conscious that this is what operational officers have been asking for. It's a different style, designed to be comfortable and sensible for officers, and if that assists them in the delivery of the full range of modern-day policing duties, then that can only be good.
"That said, it's important to hear back from the 150 officers who are trialling the new uniforms to make sure they give them the thumbs-up, or if further modifications or enhancements are needed. Remaining open-minded is central to this pilot exercise."
Earlier this year the police were forced into a U-turn after a proposal to rebrand and drop 'Northern Ireland' from the crest.
Two new styles were proposed. One, including the crest with 'Northern Ireland', would have been used in formal instances such as on stationery, at ceremonial events and on publications.
The other would have been the one most seen by the public under the proposals. It featured the crest, but the outer band with 'Northern Ireland' was removed. Both new looks would have featured the words 'Police Service NI'.