Police body armour may be redesigned to make it 'less intimidating'

·3 min read
Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered the body armour review
Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered the body armour review

Police body armour is being redesigned in an attempt to look less intimidating in the latest bout of political correctness.

MPs have reacted furiously to the proposal with one labelling the proposal as "woke".

An official request asking for assistance in "improving public perception of policing" was issued by the Government's Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

The request suggested that: "recognisable brands, covert armour or modern designs that look less intimidating" may be preferable to current uniforms.

However, Home Office sources have claimed that the move comes at the request of female officers who have complained the uniforms are too ill-fitting and manly.

They went on to say that it was Home Secretary Priti Patel who ordered the review.

MPs condemn the move

Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs, condemned the move.

He told The Mail On Sunday: "Body armour protects policemen from those who seek to do harm to them. It's neither a fashion statement nor is it a way of symbolising the politically correct, woke preoccupations of out-of-touch bourgeois bureaucrats."

He added that just two years ago Ms Patel said she wanted offenders to be "fearful of committing any criminal activities on our streets".

He said: "The police play their part in doing that. So let's reassure the law-abiding and frighten those who are not."

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the key issue was whether armour protected police officers - not how it looked.

He said: "I don't think it looks intimidating. What I want for my officers is the best capability of protecting them. I am not overly concerned on what the public think they look like. I want them to be able to come home every night."

Diversity behind the changes

A Home Office spokesperson told The Telegraph that the changes are being considered because of their "increasingly diverse police force".

They blamed a recent spike in hiring resulting in a larger number of female officers in need of armour.

The spokesperson said: “Thanks to the government manifesto commitment to hire 20,000 new police officers to keep our streets safe, there are more female officers than ever before.

“The Home Secretary regularly speaks to brave female officers that tell her body armour is tailored for male bodies and unsuitable for our increasingly diverse police force.

“That’s why she has asked for research to be carried out to improve the fit and wearability of body armour so all our officers can be protected whilst working to protect us.”

Last month, the Metropolitan Police Force, which covers London, received criticism for considering gender-neutral hats, in recognition of those who term their gender as "non-binary".

Currently, female officers wear bowler hats and males wear helmets.

Conservative MP Marco Longhi said at the time: “I want to know how much money this is costing, because people will see it for what it is: a tick-box exercise in the race to become as woke as possible. Next they will be offering skirts to the blokes.”

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