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Fedster

Force could trial scrapped helmets

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Fedster

Traditional headwear could be reinstated despite 75 per cent of officers deeming them not fit for purpose.

Force could trial scrapped helmets

A PCC wants to see the return of traditional helmets, he says, to heighten the presence of officers on the street.

Critics say the £30,000 cost of the scheme would be better spent funding an officer, while others have called the helmets impractical.

Police in Reading are currently running a trial of the helmets, which, if successful, will be rolled out across the county.

Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld says each helmet costs £30 with 1,000 expected to be ordered if the move goes ahead.

During a recent meeting of the police and crime panel Mr Stansfeld said: “I think increasing visibility across the entire Thames area is worth the cost of slightly less than one PCSO – and I think it will make a huge difference.

"Out of the four large forces in the country - ourselves, West Midlands, Manchester and London - we were the only ones to give up helmets."

However, Oxford city councillor Tom Hayes, suggested the PCC wanted to "take us back to the 1950s".

He said: "We all want to achieve the highest visibility for police. But the public don't need the commissioner to make it easier to spot officers on the street.

"Their uniforms are enough. The public simply want more officers and the commissioner should be focussing on the substance of their demands - not obsessing over street theatre."

Helmets were scrapped in Thames Valley in 2010 following a uniform review by the force.

Clive Benson, general secretary of TVP Federation, said some officers were “very disappointed” at the decision to scrap them, whilst many said they were not fit for purpose.

However, a force survey conducted at the time revealed 75 per cent of officers wanted to get rid of the helmet.

Mr Benson said: “Some forces have flat caps and some still have the custodian helmets - they do have an air of presence. There are so many other organisations, such as security wearing police type uniforms.

“The bottom line is they are impractical, they show presence, but then as soon as you need to do anything practical you need to take them off.

“The money could be put to better use in an age where we are struggling to get Taser, recruit officers and have to prioritise funding.

“I am not sure if the PCC wants it because of his military background, but he has never had to wear it. Maybe he wants it more for aesthetic purposes than practical.

“I had to wear one when I was an officer, but when I had to run I had to take it off.

“Foot patrol officers are rare anyway - there are more at football matches. But as I said, they are impractical.”

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Mac7

I’m pro helmets and the female equivalent. Baseball caps have their place but should never replace the custodian.

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Zulu 22
2 hours ago, Mac7 said:

I’m pro helmets and the female equivalent. Baseball caps have their place but should never replace the custodian.

I agree they are more comfortable and healthier. How many bald patches do you see from wearing of the caps.:(

Edited by Zulu 22

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Growley

Just as a force starts moving with the times and getting to a more practical headdress, the PCC intervenes and throws them back. Great.

The custodian is a ceremonial helmet, and has its place at ceremonial events; but for everyday policing it is simply not very practical.

21 minutes ago, Zulu 22 said:

How many bald patches do you see from wearing of the caps.:(

Unless you can provide some credible evidence, I'm gonna go with 'none'.

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Zulu 22
36 minutes ago, Growley said:

Just as a force starts moving witof wearing a capes and getting to a more prac tical headdress, the PCC intervenes and throws them back. Great.

The custodian is a ceremonial helmet, and has its place at ceremonial events; but for everyday policing it is simply not very practical.

Unless you can provide some credible evidence, I'm gonna go with 'none'.

Well in my Force several hundred officers , including me as it was one of the hazzards of wearing a cap. Every serving officer knew that.

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a-bothan-spy

I would be dismayed if my force scrapped our custodians.

I can't think of anything worse than looking like a random baseball hat wearing chav. I'd sooner wear nothing that a baseball cap.

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Growley
Well in my Force several hundred officers , including me as it was one of the hazzards of wearing a cap. Every serving officer knew that.
Except a quick Google search suggests it's nothing more than a myth.
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Growley
I would be dismayed if my force scrapped our custodians.

I can't think of anything worse than looking like a random baseball hat wearing chav. I'd sooner wear nothing that a baseball cap.
Baseball caps aren't the only alternative. Flat caps look smart and are more practical for everyday policing.
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Beaker

I quite like the baseball caps. Clip on my bag, and ignore it unless I'm on foot patrol. Custodians and flat caps certainly look smarter, but when we're wearing steelies, combats and t-shirts under a stabby it isn't going to magically make us loom like we're on parade. What is the PCCs next great idea? Number 1 dress and no PPE visible in the name of smartness?

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Hyphen

I’m not really the most traditional kind of guy but I have to say I do like the custodian for foot patrol/NTE type patrols. I do however get that they can get in the way when it kicks off or when running after someone.

Personally I don’t think there is a need for a hat full stop. Personally don’t see the benefit of a cap, it’s not smart at all. I’ve never liked a flat cap either.

In my force we only get a custodian, nothing more. Unless on foot patrols I just don’t need a hat. 

If anything the only thing that forces should be issuing cops with is a decent woolly hat for the winter months.

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JulietAlpha1

How often does this PCC imagine he has that many officers on the streets that this would make any noticeable difference...? Pointless. They’ve got rid of the helmets, just leave it.

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Hyphen

The other thing I find odd is why does it need to be trialled? It was within the force for decades and then a decision was made to axe them. Either bring them back or don’t. No need for a trial.

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junior_7178

I'm another in favour of the Custodian. My local force wear baseball caps and they look bloody awful.

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obsidian_eclipse

I've never had an issue with my custodian on foot patrol or public order. It's quite intimidating in circumstances it needs to be, especially when facing up to some of the taller foes. Couple with the right attitude it can help to create quite a powerful image. It has also deflected quite a few stones and bottles in its time.

I'm all for the custodian. For males and females if they so wish. If other prefers caps then that should be an option too.

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Growley
22 minutes ago, Hyphen said:

 Personally don’t see the benefit of a cap, it’s not smart at all. I’ve never liked a flat cap either.

A baseball cap (I'm guessing that's what you're getting at seeing as you've made a distinction) isn't smart, but was never really meant to be. Outside of forces which have taken them on as routine uniform, they are generally worn for specialist roles where they're only there to provide a Police branded piece of headwear, or to mount a camera on.

Flat caps however, do tend to look fairly smart, provided they're replaced when they get old and tatty.

22 minutes ago, Hyphen said:

In my force we only get a custodian, nothing more. Unless on foot patrols I just don’t need a hat. 

When I was on response team and constantly in and out of a car, I didn't want to wear a hat either. It is admittedly bloody tedious getting in and out of a car with the kit you're wearing already, let alone if you're trying to put a hat on as you stumble out. There is an element of personal pride and discipline in there though. 

22 minutes ago, Hyphen said:

If anything the only thing that forces should be issuing cops with is a decent woolly hat for the winter months.

I wouldn't say 'the only thing', but it can get pretty cold just about anywhere in E&W, and an actual Police branded beany would make a world of difference.

22 minutes ago, obsidian_eclipse said:

I've never had an issue with my custodian on foot patrol or public order. It's quite intimidating in circumstances it needs to be, especially when facing up to some of the taller foes. Couple with the right attitude it can help to create quite a powerful image.

This idea that custodians are intimidating seems to only be held by cops. I've never met anyone who has been fooled by the extra height. 

22 minutes ago, obsidian_eclipse said:

It has also deflected quite a few stones and bottles in its time.

It can be useful during football matches and the like where this can be a problem.

 

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