Gloucestershire Police caps ‘different to Burger King hats’

Gloucestershire Police "bump" caps
Image caption The new baseball caps have been criticised in the media for making officers look like they work at a fast food chain

A police force which is swapping its traditional British police helmet for baseball caps, insists “they look quite different to Burger King hats”.

“Bump caps” have a reinforced frame and were introduced by Gloucestershire Constabulary on Monday to replace the so-called custodian helmets.

But the unisex caps have been have been criticised for looking like part of a fast food chain uniform.

Ch Insp Carl Bourne, said they make officers “look far more approachable”.

Trialled in Cheltenham at the end of 2018, the caps are being rolled out across the force despite getting “mixed reviews”.

“Previously Gloucestershire had nine different types of headwear,” said Ch Insp Bourne.

“Those hats were rarely ever worn because they were uncomfortable, impractical, and fell off quite regularly.

“We wanted to bring all of them together, so we all look the same and have a consistent level of head protection.”

Image copyright Gloucestershire Police
Image caption The bump cap not only offers “all round protection” but “can be worn whilst driving” unlike some traditional styles

According to the force, the caps offer “all round protection” and can be worn whilst driving, unlike some traditional styles.

“We appreciate that traditional headgear is an iconic element of our uniform and distinguishes British police officers around the world so we were aware the change could have a negative impact,” a spokesman for the force said.

“But the traditional headwear will still be worn for ceremonial duties.”

Mike Harrison, from the Gloucestershire Police Federation, said they were a “break away” from the traditional but were “more practical”.

“We haven’t had any complaints or officers refusing to wear them,” he said.

Last year, two police forces which had ditched traditional headwear, Thames Valley and Northamptonshire, brought them back as baseball caps were deemed not to “portray the right image”.

First used by the Metropolitan Police in 1863, the “custodian” helmet was based on the spiked Pickelhaube worn by the Prussian army.

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