IT’S goodbye to the traditional police hat for a 159-year-old constabulary, with officers changing to US-style baseball caps.
Cheshire’s force yesterday became the first in Britain to change its headgear.
Even inspectors and chief inspectors will now be sporting the unisex baseball caps following a successful trial in the city of Chester.
The baseball caps, which are reinforced, are said to be lightweight but sturdy, and allow officers to clamber in and out of vehicles without removing them.
Cheshire’s 2,000 officers will use classic “custodian” tall helmets – normally associated with bobbies on the beat – and traffic-police style flat caps only for ceremonial events in future.
The baseball caps are being phased in starting this week and almost everyone on the force should be wearing one by the end of the month.
Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “I want Cheshire officers to be equipped with the most appropriate uniform to carry out their jobs safely and effectively.
“Following internal and external consultations we’re introducing hard caps for most frontline police officers.
I want officers to be equipped with the most appropriate uniform to carry out their jobs safely and effectively
“Their size means that officers can comfortably get in and out of vehicles without having to remove them.
“And their modern ventilation and lightness means they’re comfortable to wear all year round. Feedback from our officers was positive.”
Around nine out of 10 officers asked in a survey agreed that baseball caps should become a standard part of the uniform for everyday use.
In 2006 North Wales Police tried using a ‘soft’ version of the baseball cap as standard, only to ditch it when the public and local MPs complained they looked “too casual” and “unprofessional”.