Scottish police will wear “gender-neutral” baseball caps as part of their uniform

All officers will be able to choose reinforced bump caps as a non-gendered option to traditional police headwear.
All officers will be able to choose reinforced bump caps as a non-gendered option to traditional police headwear.
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Police officers in Scotland are to start wearing “gender-neutral” baseball-style caps as part of their uniform.

All officers will be able to choose reinforced “bump caps” as a non-gendered option to traditional police headwear.

The caps were introduced by Northamptonshire Police in May 2017 because “gender-based headgear” was acting as “a barrier to the non-binary transgender community”.

But they were ditched 18 months later because they didn’t portray the right image.

The current standard-issue hats have different designs for men and women, but Police Scotland is keen to make sure the uniform is inclusive.

Until now the caps have been worn by specialist officers, such as the firearms unit, dog­handlers and search teams.

Police Scotland is keen to raise awareness of the new policy on hats to make sure members of the public don't mistake officers on routine patrols for specialist squads.

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Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: "Where an officer would prefer not to wear a gender specific hat, it is right they have that option.

"Members of the public may already be familiar with these caps, as many specialists have worn them for several years. Depending on demand for these hats, the public may notice some officers on regular duty wearing them.

"They are clearly marked as police uniform and we have taken the opportunity to remind our people of the importance of wearing their hat to identify themselves as police officers."

Permission for all officers to wear baseball caps has been granted as an interim measure while the force considers a unisex hat design.

Several forces in England have already introduced caps or ­gender-neutral hats as a way of standardising the police uniform for male and female officers. Gender-neutral baseball caps were introduced by Northamptonshire Police last year in a bid to make the force more inclusive for transgender and non-binary people.

But they have since been phased out by the force's new chief constable as they "do not project the right image". It is not yet known how many officers north of the border will choose to wear the caps.

Officers who prefer their old hats can continue to wear them.

Traditionally, the uniform for women has included a bowler-style hat, and it is the only part of the uniform that is still gender-specific. Male officers usually wear a peaked hat.

The first woman police officer in Scotland joined the force in September 1915 but she was classed as a "lady assistant". Three years later, the first uniformed female officer was recruited in Dundee.

Skirts started to be phased out as a compulsory part of the female­uniform in the 1980s.