Colourful designer police uniforms?

New Delhi: The Indian policemen are known by the khaki uniform they have been wearing since the British era, but that may soon become history as the Home Ministry is pushing for a multi-coloured designer uniform for them.

The union home ministry has approved the new uniforms designed by the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, and it is waiting for Home Minister Rajnath Singh to have time to give his clearance for writing to all state police chiefs to adopt the new uniforms.

Officials said the new uniforms are smarter and visually pleasing and will project a friendly image. There would be separate uniforms for winter and summer, and even the material would change with an eye on comfort in all weather conditions and no more the woolen cap that the cops are forced to wear round the year.

It is, however, up to the states to adopt or delay the new uniforms, but over nine lakh central paramilitary personnel would certainly switch over to the new uniforms, the officials said.

Some among the country’s 16 lakh-strong police force have already changed their gear — Kolkata police, for example, wear white — but most are still stuck with their pre-Independence-era outfit.

“The proposed new design looks less threatening. It’s meant for policemen and policewomen of all ranks,” an official said.

It was the UPA government that had in 2012 assigned the NID to fashion a new uniform as part of a drive to modernise the police and paramilitary forces. Sources in the Bureau of Police Research and Development, which reports to the home ministry, said the Ahmedabad institute had studied police uniforms across all the major countries before designing the new cop wear.

The bureau functioning since August 1970 felt that certain police accessories like the woollen cap, leather belt and beret have lost their relevance.

Wide leather belts with heavy metal buckles are not comfortable to wear over long duty hours, especially in the summer.

A bureau official said reforming the uniform is not enough as the government should also reform the processes of police recruitment, training and investigation.

“The most important thing is to ensure that the police are trained professionally. The police are agents of the law and not of the government. This is the most important aspect of training as it will help them discharge their duties and make the lives of citizens better,” an IPS officer said.

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