Is new police uniform a bobby dazzler or a cop out?
When asked to picture a bobby on the beat many will still imagine the traditional Dixon of Dock Green look, complete with smart blue tunic and that unmistakable British helmet.
Police uniforms have changed since those 1970s days with helmets a rare sight on today’s patrols.
And last month the latest incarnation hit the streets of Lancashire, sending officers out wearing branded baseball caps.
And while bosses insist the cap is ‘part of an updated and more practical police uniform being issued to all officers’ it seems not all officers share their enthusiasm
Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, the union which represents serving officers, admitted there had been a mixed response to the changes.
She said: “There have certainly been a real range of views expressed on this.
“It had really set officers talking. Some are happy with the changes, they don’t really believe it matters what an officer is wearing as long as they do their duties.
“Others believe it is too casual, it doesn’t command the kind of respect police should be getting. What is clear is there aren’t many people who don’t have a strong view.”
The Gazette understands some officers have expressed concerns about the way the cap will change the public’s view of the force.
Others are concerned the uniform changes no longer contain any specific Lancashire Constabulary insignia.
Concerns have also been raised over the continued use of traditional helmets for ceremonial occasions, with officers believing dignitaries and the general public should be shown the same respect.
Lancashire Police has made clear there will be no turning back on the uniform changes no matter what officers, or the public might thing.
A spokesman said: “The baseball cap is part of an updated and more practical police uniform being issued to all officers. This includes a new soft shell black jacket, black body armour, lightweight high-vis jacket and new black shirts.
“This will see us move away from the traditional custodian helmets and flat hats issued to all male officers and bowler hats for female officers.
“Baseball caps will become the standard head wear for all operational officers.
“They have a level of protection built in, much like a cycle helmet, and are a practical option to protect our officers while undertaking the modern and complex demands placed upon them.
“While such a move away from tradition will inevitably invoke mixed reactions we have worked hard to provide what we believe is the best operational kit while realising significant financial savings year on year.
“We will maintain a small stock of traditional headwear for men and women for ceremonial purposes.”