West Yorkshire Police scraps traditional helmets

Police in West Yorkshire will ditch the traditional police helmet in favour of peaked caps.

The force made the decision after a survey found the “overwhelming majority” of staff wanted to do away with the helmets.

The traditional helmet, which is known as a custodian, will still be worn on ceremonial occasions, such as funerals and Remembrance Day parades.

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West Yorkshire is the second force to make the change after Thames Valley did so five years ago.

British policemanBritish policeman
British policeman

Supt Keith Gilert said: “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.

“While 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.”

First used by the Metropolitan Police in 1863, the “custodian” helmet was based on the spiked Pickelhaube worn by the Prussian army.

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Nick Smart, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, welcomed the change in headwear.

He said: “Helmets fall off heads, they’re cumbersome and a lot of the time they weren’t getting used.

“Officers in cars would chuck them on the back seat and not put them on to deal with an incident.”