Police force's baseball caps make officers 'look like they work at Burger King'

Telegraph Reporters
Sergeant Mark Burns said the new police bump caps are

A police force is to swap its traditional helmets for baseball caps amid hopes the change of headgear could see officers become more approachable to young people.

Gloucestershire Constabulary said unisex “bump” caps are being rolled out across the force over the coming weeks to offer officers more protection.

But the caps have met with a mixed reaction within Gloucestershire and in other parts of the country some forces have tried and rejected them because they proved unpopular with the public.

Last November Northamptonshire stopped using them because they did not “portray the right image” and Thames Valley also halted a roll-out after members of the public said it made police look like they were working for Burger King.

Senior officers in Gloucestershire are phasing in the hats which are said to be lightweight but sturdy, and allow officers to clamber in and out of vehicles without removing them.

Police officers in the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean are among the first to take delivery of the headgear but eventually all frontline staff will wear them.

Sergeant Mark Burns was happy to don his cap which arrived on Monday and said he is already used to wearing the reinforced baseball-style headgear on searches and similar duties.

“The bump helmets are far more practical,” he said.

“They don’t fall off and they offer more protection.”

The officer said the spin-off benefit is that it made the police more approachable for young people.

He admitted not all his colleagues approved of the changes but officers could not opt out because it is important to maintain a distinct corporate image.

“There has been a bit of a mixed response because a lot of people like the traditional old custodian helmets,” he said.

Mike Harrison of the Gloucestershire Police Federation said the body had not received any complaints from members in Gloucestershire who did not want to wear the new headgear.

“There was a lot of debate initially and we did a trial period, but the feedback was very positive because they are more practical," he added.