Scrapping the helmet after 150 years

PC Mark Rothery and PC Michael Bateman.
PC Mark Rothery and PC Michael Bateman.

The traditional helmet worn by officers in West Yorkshire Police is finally being retired from active duty this week after providing sterling service to the police for 150 years.

The traditional ‘custodian’ helmet worn by officers is being replaced with a modern cap.

Supt Keith Gilert said earlier this year: “West Yorkshire Police, like all forces, has had traditional police caps as part of its uniform for many years, and issued them to officers in a variety of roles.

“What we have found increasingly is that as the duties carried out by officers and their uniforms have evolved, peaked caps have become more appropriate and more in keeping than the traditional helmets in many situations.

“A survey last year revealed the overwhelming majority of staff who responded wanted to use the operational cap as part of everyday uniform than the traditional helmet and as a consequence, the force took a decision in late 2014 to progress towards this position, with the caps being rolled out during 2015.

“Whilst this move recognises the operational reality of modern policing, West Yorkshire Police firmly recognises the iconic importance and ceremonial significance of the traditional police helmet.

“There will always be occasions when the use of a helmet will be preferable over a cap and in these circumstances a helmet will be available.”

Supt Gilert said that examples of such occasions might be funerals, Remembrance Day parades.

He said: “These and other similar ceremonial occasions tradition will quite rightly take precedence over practicality.”