Federation lead's request gets approval of chief constable as beanie hats are introduced to help stave off the cold.As the country braces for more snow and ice, officers at Thames Valley Police can now order a uniform-issue woolly hat to keep them warm.
The new black knitted beanie has “Police” embroidered across the front and is intended to keep officers warm when they have to stand still for long periods of time outdoors, said PC Lisa Stanhope, Health and Safety lead for the Federation.
However, officers will not be wearing them on patrol.
“When the weather is like it has been this week – with big flakes of snow and low temperatures – and you’re standing still at a scene until someone comes to relieve you, it can be really cold,” said PC Stanhope.
“Police officers do complain about not having any decent headgear that keeps them warm.
“Once you’re standing there, you know you’re going to be there for the duration and a flat hat or a bowler just doesn’t keep out the cold.”
PC Stanhope researched the subject and wrote a formal proposal for a warmer hat but in the end it came down to asking Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton directly.
“It doesn’t sound like something you would take up with the chief herself. It sounds insignificant and it did get a roar of laughter from around the room but the chief said she didn’t have an issue with the idea,” she explained.
Officers who are patrolling or sitting in vehicles will not be able to wear the new woolly hats but for those who have to stand still outdoors for long periods it should make a difference, said PC Stanhope.
She added that the force will benefit too with the hats hopefully able to stave off illness. “This is about trying to protect officers from sickness, which will improve the force resilience,” she said.
Asked how the public might respond to seeing police officers in knitted beanies, PC Stanhope said: “We are used to seeing police wearing woolly hats on US television shows so I’m not sure the public will think anything of it as long as they are smart and it’s part of their uniform.”
Frontline officers can apply for the new hat by going onto the Stores Portal on the force intranet under the headgear section
Thames Valley Police allows woolly hats for officers
Thames Valley Police officers can now wear a woolly hat to keep warm on duty
Thames Valley Police officers can now keep warm in the winter weather with a uniform-issue woolly hat.
Officers patrolling or sitting in vehicles will not be able to wear the new woolly hats, but those who have to stand outdoors for long periods will.
The change in uniform comes after officers successfully lobbied the force's Chief Constable Sara Thornton.
The force said the new black-knitted beanie with "Police" embroidered on the front will present a smart image.
The idea for the new item of kit came from PC Lisa Stanhope, Thames Valley Police Federation's health and safety lead.
She said: "When the weather is like it has been recently and you're standing still at a scene until someone comes to relieve you, it can be really cold.
"A flat hat or a bowler just doesn't keep out the cold and officers do complain about not having any decent headgear to keep them warm."
Thames Valley are not the first force in the UK to introduce thermal wear to uniform.
Officers at Devon & Cornwall Police are permitted to wear both woolly hats and snoods should conditions require them.
Small victories, but each one helps!
Edited by kenworthy, 22 January 2013 - 11:18 am.