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Police introduce casual alternative to 'cumbersome' uniform

Police around the country are bringing a casual look to their wardrobe, with their uniform introducing caps for when the warmer months roll around again later this year. 

Constable Daniel Stone wearing the forage cap, with constable Gertrud Kikajon in the new cap. Source: NZ Police

In a statement today, NZ Police said the new baseball-style caps are an alternative to the traditional forage cap, which have been police’s primary item of headgear since hard helmets were put aside in 1995.

The new caps will be rolled out later in the year to be worn by frontline staff, who had called for the change, to wear with operational uniform.

"Staff feedback has indicated that forage caps can be cumbersome and prone to falling or being knocked off in dynamic situations and they have to be taken off when getting in a car," Assistant Commissioner Tusha Penny said.

"Many staff are happy with the forage cap and they can continue to wear it, but the baseball cap will provide a practical alternative."

Constable Daniel stone wearing the new cap. Source: NZ Police

Commissioner Andrew Coster said the forage cap, which will remain for formal occasions, had served police well for decades but that it was time staff had an alternative for on the frontline.

"These caps are a practical, comfortable alternative to the forage cap, which look completely in keeping with the operational uniform," he said.

The move comes after a trial late last year saw officers from Northland, Auckland City, Wellington, Tasman, and Southern Districts, and the Royal New Zealand Police College try out four designs of cap and give feedback.

The new chosen style will also replace the caps currently used by some specialist workgroups, including Maritime, dog handlers and and search and rescuers.

Rollout of one cap to each constabulary member is expected to start in September and run through to March next year.

However, police say there is potential for further delays to the rollout of the caps, which are made in New Zealand but with components from overseas, due to Covid-19's impact on global supply chains.