NEW DELHI: The era of age-old Khaki uniforms may be on its way out as India is readying itself to see smarter cops round the corner in designer nip-and-tuck. The Centre is all set to finalise an all-weather and user-friendly uniform for the police forces across the country and the Central paramilitary forces. The new-look uniform will have modern fabric, with visually appealing colour scheme and textures to exude authority and instil public-friendly image with modern colour scheme and textures.
As part of modernising the country’s police force, the Union Home Ministry had entrusted the Bureau of Police Research and Development to conduct an exhaustive research to design a new look uniform for the police.
The BPR&D on its part roped in the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad to design the new uniform and provide five prototypes keeping in mind weather-friendliness, user-compatibility and operational comfort among other parameters.
Director General of BPR&D Dr MC Borwankar told The Sunday Standard, “The project in the final stages and a new design for the police uniform will be finalised soon.”
The NID has been asked to do a comparative study of police uniforms of all major countries across the world with a view to suitably modify uniforms for Indian Police, for all hierarchical levels.
Every component of the uniform including the trouser, shirt, belt, boot and the cap will undergo a makeover and is expected to give a snazzier look.
“Over the years a lot of things have changed but for the police uniform. This is why we have asked the NID that the uniform should be smart and professional and convey authority. It should also give a unique identity to the policeman and at the same time make him proud of it,” said a senior BPR& D official handling Modernisation.
The basic idea behind the image makeover, according to him, is to make the country’s police force smarter, visually appealing and acceptable. But it remains to be seen how much this sartorial choices would help in improving policing in the country.
“Clothes make the man (or woman) and this is why we decided to rope the NID to conduct a research and then design police uniform. The Indian policemen have been wearing uniform that was designed in the pre-Independence era. We want to make the force look visually more appealing and less threatening,” the official added.
The BPR&D had awarded the contract to the NID in the last fiscal and the deadline to complete the project is March 31, 2017. However, the BPR&D has asked the NID to compress the time and compete it by December end or by mid-January.
Once all the prototypes are available, a decision to finalise one will be taken by the Director General of BPR&D in coordination with BSF chief who is the coordinator for the project. The finalised prototype will be vetted by the Union Home Ministry and subsequently it will be circulated to the Central paramilitary forces and police forces across the States and Union Territories for adoption.
Police being a state subject under the Constitution, the States will be free to adopt or reject the newly designed uniform. However, the 9-lakh strong Central paramilitary forces will adopt once approved by the Union Home Ministry.
The official said comfort and utility are the central themes in the design and there could be multiple pockets on the shirt and trouser besides multi-utility belt with detachable pouches to accommodate their typical requirement of carrying wireless sets and weapons along with cartridges.
The BPR&D has already compiled a compendium of weapons being used by the police and paramilitary forces across the country and the uniform design will take care of accommodating them.
The BPRD was set up in August 1970 with an aim to work for the modernisation of police forces. It has now evolved as a multifaceted consultancy organization and has four divisions --- research, development, training and correctional administration.
The National Design Business Incubator (NDBI), a wing of NID, has been asked to do the research and design the police uniform.
BPRD official pointed out that even the utility of certain accessories like leather belt and woollen beret have lost their relevance in modern times.
“Wide leather belt with heavy metal buckles and woollen cap are not comfortable to wear over long duty hours. Besides, due to advancement in fabric manufacturing the police uniform design needs to be relooked into as it becomes unbearable during summer,” said BPRD official.
“Besides, policemen across the country don the same uniform throughout the year. There are no specific uniforms for different duties and for different weather conditions,” he added.
The NID was tasked to complete the research --- Smart Policemen: Developing Designing and Trial of High Performance Uniform Articles and Accessories – in a year’s time.
“The uniform should be weather compliant and different uniform design and specifications for different weather conditions. It should be comfortable to wear and easy to maintain. The NID has been asked to keep in mind the tough working conditions and the uniform should not hinder the performance of the policeman while on duty.
The accessories/attachments should be such that they reflect the uniqueness of the Indian police and at the same time give them a sense of belongingness to the past and uniformity between various police agencies.
Apart from circulating the prototype, their features and other essentials of the uniform to the States, the Centre is also likely to convene meeting of the police chiefs at a later stage to implement the project.
While welcoming the move, a section of police and paramilitary officials said the outdated 1861 Police Act must be revised soon as the police are agents of the law, not of the government. Insiders also said field trials of the new uniform should be conducted before introduction across the ranks.