New BLUE Police for Europe

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New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  Les-Art on Thu 28 May 2009, 7:21 am

Hi Guys,
This may be old news to you, but I just discovered when doing some research that the European Union Emergency Services directive of many years ago seems to now becoming into force throughout Europe for uniforms as well as vehicles.

The original concept was to make sure that Emergency service vehicles - Police, Fire and Ambulance were recognisable to all whichever European country you were in ,with the same Emergency phone number. The vehicles were to be mainly White for Police, Yellow for Fire Service and Green for Ambulance.

It was additionally agreed that the uniforms of the personell involved should also be recognisable by colour, however the traditions of each country seem to get in the way of this and it appeared to be abandoned. Until now, it would seem that starting around 2007 some countries have decided that this is now a good idea for the POLICE , which is what I was researching, and mainland Europe has gone ahead with standardised colours for the uniforms. The designs are still unique to the countries however insignias seem to have been simplified to just include the word 'POLICE' in the national language.

The following countries changed in 2008 - Uniforms are DARK BLUE for POLICE.
AUSTRIA - Merged Bundespolizei and bundesgendarmerie to form a new force with stadardised uniform.
The new uniform includes short and long sleeve shirts with new simplified shoulder patch of
POLIZEI over an Austrian eagle and cap badge in metal of a similar design. Short and long
jackets depending on season. Cap is more US in style in Dark Blue or White depending on
duty. Beret is still used by specialist units. Rank slides used on all working uniforms.
The most unusual item is the NEW dress uniform which is unique in its use of a stand up
collar to utilise the old style rank insignias.
LICHTENSTIEN - Changed to baseball caps and berets. Dark Blue Jackets and trousers with LIght Blue
shirts and striped ties (unique to a uniform) of a fashion design. New simplified patch
and cap badge and embroidered corporate stripes logo of LIchtenstien colours.
GERMANY - New NEW YORK POLICE Style 8-point caps with the previous issue cap stars. Long and
short sleeves shirts, combat trousers worn loose or tied up (depending on duty). New
fashion style jackets with zip-off sleeves. White topped caps for Traffic duty. All rank
insignias the same as previously used by the Water Police and Railway police, that is
Blue /black background to patches and Blue with lighter blue stars for the eppaulettes.
This is the end for POLICE Green in Germany which was standardised in 1933 and ended
75 years later !!
I will try to track down decent photos of these new uniforms and post them here shortly.

With these changes it means that the following countries now wear POLICE Blue -
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Lichtenstien, Monaco, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden.
Rumour has it that all Portugese forces will change to Blue ,as will the Guardia Civil in Spain but that the Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza in Italy will not. Switzerland will stay independent of Europe and stick to the various colours currently used by the Cantons. The U.K. is still wearing Black but a national uniform is proposed and has been adopted by some English forces which are Dark Blue and have the Blue and White diced band across the chest of jackets and sweaters.

Hopefully this info is of interest to someone and that it is new to most.

Best Regards,
Les

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Re: New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  buistR on Thu 28 May 2009, 8:45 am

Very interesting Les - thanks. Pity about the German changes though - the green and grey looked smart and the high fronted cap was at least distinctively German. The pointy NYPD caps just look ugly in their city of origin (IMHO) but I suppose at least they have no negative WWII reminders.

Wonder if the bobby helmet in UK will eventually go.

The Spanish Civil Guard historically did wear dark blue with red facings, so loosing their greens would not be an altogether retrograde step.

I suppose now tourists in distress across Europe will be looking to postmen or bus drivers for help - anyone in blue should do!

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New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  Les-Art on Thu 28 May 2009, 9:24 am

Hi BuistR,
You're right anyone in Blue should be good for a bit of extra emergency work! Not sure what all the postmen in Europe wear though!

I think you are right about the WW2 reminders with the German uniforms, although before 1933 most of them had Blue anyway. Also in the US controlled areas of Germany in 1946 the germans used a Blue uniform and got breast badges like the US had at the time, well german designs but worn in the same place as the americans. I think that Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen managed to stay in Blue until 1978 when the National uniform was issued in Green and Tan.

Sorry to report that the Bobby Helmet is already on it's way out in the U.K.. Some English forces have gone with the flat cap, others are getting baseball caps and combat trousers. In fact everyday they look more like SWAT teams on the streets than old constables, they even call themselves 'POLICE OFFICERS', which is NOT a rank in the British Police.

You're right about the Guardia Civil and it may be a good move for them to get away from the links with 'Franco' which still haunts them with some older members of the public.

I must add other countries to the list of BLUE police-
ANDORRA - now has Light Blue shirts and dark Blue trousers and jackets.
FINLAND - has always worn Blue.
SERBIA - has gone with Light Blue shirts and dark Blue trousers, cap and jacket.
BOSNIA - is all Dark Blue.
UKRAINE - Have been issued totally new uniforms in Dark Blue to get away from the old 'soviet' look
and actually their designs are unique and very numerous. They have at least 4 different ones for
motorcycle cops alone!!
GREECE - Amalgamated to form one National Police force and all members wear Blue now.

So ,not many to go for the Europe wide change. I wonder if they get the same EU insentive as they were going to offer with the repainting of vehicles, to help with funds to cover the costs of the change.

Found a couple of photos already, so I'll get Sean to post them shortly for me.

Best Regards,
Les

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Re: New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  ChrisF202 on Thu 28 May 2009, 11:23 am

Les-Art wrote:Hi BuistR,
You're right anyone in Blue should be good for a bit of extra emergency work! Not sure what all the postmen in Europe wear though!

I think you are right about the WW2 reminders with the German uniforms, although before 1933 most of them had Blue anyway. Also in the US controlled areas of Germany in 1946 the germans used a Blue uniform and got breast badges like the US had at the time, well german designs but worn in the same place as the americans. I think that Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen managed to stay in Blue until 1978 when the National uniform was issued in Green and Tan.

Sorry to report that the Bobby Helmet is already on it's way out in the U.K.. Some English forces have gone with the flat cap, others are getting baseball caps and combat trousers. In fact everyday they look more like SWAT teams on the streets than old constables, they even call themselves 'POLICE OFFICERS', which is NOT a rank in the British Police.

You're right about the Guardia Civil and it may be a good move for them to get away from the links with 'Franco' which still haunts them with some older members of the public.

I must add other countries to the list of BLUE police-
ANDORRA - now has Light Blue shirts and dark Blue trousers and jackets.
FINLAND - has always worn Blue.
SERBIA - has gone with Light Blue shirts and dark Blue trousers, cap and jacket.
BOSNIA - is all Dark Blue.
UKRAINE - Have been issued totally new uniforms in Dark Blue to get away from the old 'soviet' look
and actually their designs are unique and very numerous. They have at least 4 different ones for
motorcycle cops alone!!
GREECE - Amalgamated to form one National Police force and all members wear Blue now.

So ,not many to go for the Europe wide change. I wonder if they get the same EU insentive as they were going to offer with the repainting of vehicles, to help with funds to cover the costs of the change.

Found a couple of photos already, so I'll get Sean to post them shortly for me.

Best Regards,
Les
It's not just a UK thing, it's here too ... it seems that more and more of our cops think they are commandos instead of cops. Their argument is that the "classic style uniforms are not suitable for chasing people through the woods/streets". We have some police forces that dress as if they are about to go invade Iran.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3213/2858204286_9d09731eb5.jpg?v=0
^ Ponce, PR Police Department - Puerto Rican agencies are the biggest proponents of the "tacticool" concept.

http://www.kurtjohnson.net/Photos/Singles/2004DecSanJuanCRW_9093.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3125/2509722442_dc0d00b0af.jpg?v=0
http://image52.webshots.com/152/9/77/46/2778977460067845640DyPyHS_fs.jpg
^ Puerto Rico State Police officers on foot patrol in Old San Juan - again notice the vests worn over the uniform - a rather silly concept.

http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/xml/services/assist/livablepc/K9.jpg
^ A group of Peirce County WA sheriff's deputies

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New Blue Police for Europe

Post  Les-Art on Fri 29 May 2009, 8:29 am

Hi Chris,
You're right, I think we started copying the USA for everything bad as far as the uniform is concerned.

When I was in NYC in 1992, the NYPD had changed to Dark Blue shirts or should I say went back to dark blue shirts, and I noticed that combat trousers were coming into use a couple of years later but without being 'bloused' at the bottom. The cops could wear them if they bought them but they were only issued to ESU initially. So the 'militirisation' of the police has been ongoing for awhile now in your country and of course in mainland Europe it has been there all along with the para-military types, but they have still made an effort to be more public friendly, now in the UK with the NEW style uniforms they have gone away from all the traditons of the British Police, which IMHO is a very bad thing.

I really don't see the reason over here to wear the SWAT style vests, as they ALSO wear US style utility belts, and you would ONLY need one OR the other not both to carry the things they currently 'tote' around. Then of course with most of them being over weight, the belt ends up looking like some kind of wild west gunfighter and the vest now sticks out twice as far as it should at the front. Quite comical actually.

Thanks for the links to the PUERTO RICO images, I like the idea of 'tacticool' ,I think you are right about that it,s something they all think they are. The Pierce County guys could probably get away with the military style as they seem to be K-9 officers, so I suppose searching with dogs in undergrowth would be reasonable. However I do take your point.

I found enough clear photos on the internet to put together two jpeg compilations showing the New uniforms of the Austrian, German and Lichtenstein Police. Sean is kindly going to add them to this thread on my behalf. So any questions or comments on the photos are welcomed and I'll try and answer them.

As I gather more info on the change to Blue throughout Europe I'll add them to this thread.

Best Regars,
Les

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Les' Pictures

Post  Sean on Fri 29 May 2009, 1:16 pm

http://i62.servimg.com/u/f62/12/22/09/10/austri10.jpg
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http://i62.servimg.com/u/f62/12/22/09/10/german10.jpg
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Re: New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  buistR on Fri 29 May 2009, 7:30 pm

Didn't at least some German police forces wear Jager type shakos from shortly after World War I until the introduction of the standard "National" green and tan in 1978? I think that the shako replaced the spiked helmet of pre 1918 (which was presumably too closely identified with the Imperial era) and then survived a series of political changes - being worn by Weimar Republic, Third Reich, East and West German police. It was probably even less practical than the Bobby helmet when it came to "chase 'em through the fields and the streets" work but it always seems a pity when traditional features like that vanish completely apparently for reasons of whim and fashion. Even the French National Police gave up wearing kepis about twenty years ago - apart from the Army only Douaniers (customs) and Gendarmerie (rural para-military) retain them now.

Surprising that the modern German police went NYPD style without protest. Perhaps there was a case for adopting blue uniforms, but why include a hat that looks incongruous outside the Bronx and has no German flavour to it?

Hopefully the Spanish Civil Guard will retain their unique bicorn hats for ceremonial occasions. They were always rather quaint (the flat backs lead one German officer serving with Franco's forces to comment that they were uniquely suited for "back to the wall" last stands) but no one could accuse them of being Rambo-ish.

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Re: New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  ChrisF202 on Sat 30 May 2009, 4:46 am

Yes, the German Police did wear Jaegar shakos from about 1918 through the late 1970s. However I can't seem to find many pictures of them being worn post 1945. Were they mainly relegated to ceremonial wear like with the British custodian (aka "Bobby") helmets?

I did manage to find one picture taken in the early 1950s:
http://www.bridgemanart.com/thumbnails/web400wm/330/330128.jpg

As for the Spanish Civil Guard, one of the bloodiest battles of the Spanish Civil War was the siege of the Alcazar of Toledo which was defended almost entirely by Nationalist Civil Guardsmen. They were certainly capable of direct combat and I believe they still are to a certain extent - while the Italian Carabineri and the French Gendarmerie have units capable of direct combat I am not sure of the Spanish Civil Guard.

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New Blue Police for Europe

Post  Les-Art on Sat 30 May 2009, 5:37 am

Hi BuistR,
From 1933 - 1978 , all german LANDER (STATES) used the 'POLIZEI TSCHAKO' in some way.

Through the 30's and 40's, all civil Police and the Gendarmerie wore them as normal duty items, after WW2 ALL the 'Green' LANDER used them as a duty headgear in towns ,but with the advent of more vehicle patrols and specialist units ,over the more rural areas, the german style cap became more wide spread. During the 1960's and 70's it was more common to see the Tschako being worn for parades and other dress occassions. Also during this latter time specialist headwear came into widespread use - White tops for traffic police caps, Ski caps, berets, motorcycle helmets, riot helmets, etc.

In the 'Blue' LANDER they were used for a longer period of time as standard headwear and had more variety in material, straw versions were tried in some towns during summer months and white ones were used by policemen on traffic duty. However 1978 is still the end year for official use.

The design and history of the 'Jager' Tschako is quite interesting. It was developed around 1866, slightly taller with a longer back peak, but by 1870 ,the Franco-Prussian War, it was finalised to the design we know. After this war the Army had little to do and something had to be done with the fully trained 'Jager Korps' most of which were state(LANDER) controlled troops, apart from continued training as reserve troops they were used as Emergency Police due to their heavier weaponry, so between 1871 and 1914 , depending on the State they became, SPECIAL POLICE , EMERGENCY POLICE, RURAL POLICE, GENDARMERIE working mainly in the countryside from Barracks. In some states their unifrom was still green with the town/city police in Blue, in others they had distinct insignia differences. After WW1 the 'Jager' were exclusively used as the basis for EMERGENCY POLICE , later to become the Gendarmerie element of the Third Reich Police. During the revolution of 1919 in Germany these units were deployed as Security Forces as they were well organised and out gunned most of the decenters (but this is another story that would have to take up another thread), they were armed with Machine Guns and there are many images throughout the 1920's of these units posed with their much prized equipment, 1908 Maxim Machine guns.

The 'picklehaube' as Police headgear was certainly used by the town/ normal Police throughout Germany. Again it was developed from 1866, then it was taller with a larger spike, by the 1870 war it was shorter and became the style we have all seen used during WW1. Used by almost all Police with few exceptions between 1870 and 1918, with them going out of use between 1919 and 1923. The 'Jager' Tscako taking over around 1924 as the new official headwear. There is some evidence to suggest that some Police forces didn't go for the new tschako but started wearing the German style Military Officers cap with coloured piping appropriate to the State/City colours.

Hope this isn't too much info for you, once I started typing I couldn't stop!

Traditions are falling away all the time as far as unfiorms are concerned, which is a pity as those in charge will not document what they have done or why. Which is where this forum is good as all the info can be saved for posperity.

More info on French Kepis. As you say the 'POLICE NATIONALE' now wear caps, but did you realise that even the 'GENDARMERIE NATIONALE' are now looking at doing the same. Currently they still wear the Hard Kepi for Parades and certain duties, however with the advent of the NEW utility uniform they now have a soft Kepi, cross between a baseball hat and hard kepi, with piping and a grenade on the front. I'm not sure if this cap will totally take the place of the Kepi, but if you watch the 'Tour de France' this year, you will see it being worn by all the Gendarmes lining the route. The 'GARDE REPUBLICAINE' and 'GENDARMERIE MOBILE' will still wear the Kepi as they are the more military wing of the Gendarmerie. The 'DOUNES' will go with caps like the 'POLICE NATIONALE' with different coloured band.

No idea why the German Police would go NYPD with there look, unless a Police Insignia Collector had his hand in it ,it makes no sense to me either. I did notice something else when I studied the photos posted here. The Austrian and German trousers have light Blue stripes down the outside seam, two for Austria and not sure ,but at least one on the German. Maybe they are made by the same company?

Additionally ,I have to report that the Motorcycle Officers of the German Police are now wearing Blue and Grey Leather uniforms to match their new M/C colour schemes. I'm trying to find some good photos of them.

Hope this info is of interest. I'll do my best to answer any other questions.

I was just finishing this off this post when I noticed your post Chris, there are many photos showing the German Police wearing the Tschako in the 1950's through to the 1970's in old issues of the 'National Geographic' magazine, in fact I think they went out of their way to find a cop wearing one just for the interest. I have a few official brochures showing them being worn, I can scan some photos for you if you need them. Historical photos on sites like Flickr, you are right they seem to show the 1920's in the main.
Directly after the war all the tsckakos had their nazi badges removed and it seemed to be up to the 'Control Commission' of the zone to decide what should be done, the US one seems to have prefered caps, the British one went with a British Police style cap, not sure about the other two though.

As far as I am aware the 'Guardia Civil' is still considered part of the Army and has direct combat equipment

Best Regards,
Les

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Re: New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  Animal on Sat 30 May 2009, 6:28 am

Sean wrote:http://i62.servimg.com/u/f62/12/22/09/10/austri10.jpg
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http://i62.servimg.com/u/f62/12/22/09/10/german10.jpg
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I could've sworn that the Austrian police uniforms would've retained the 3 pointed pocket flaps.

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Re: New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  buistR on Sat 30 May 2009, 6:31 am

Thanks very much Les - police uniform changes are usually less well documented than military ones and nearly all of what you had to say was new to me. Good to see an expert at work!

I didn't know that the kepi was being phased out of wear by French customs and possibly even gendarmerie personnel. However with the change over from a conscript army to an all regular one in the early 2000s this quintessential French military headdress looks likely to be around for a while yet. For a generation after WWII its use was effectively limited to officers and the Foreign Legion but now it has reappeared as parade headdress (in more or less traditional colours) for those units who historically wore it. Of course the EU bureacracy may move to standardise military uniforms across Europe next, following their success with the police ..... Smile

Cheers

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Re: New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  ChrisF202 on Sat 30 May 2009, 8:14 am

Could someone possibly blow up the image of the female Liechtenstein police officer? I would like to get a better look at her push on shoulder tabs as it looks like some form of rank insignia but yet I was informed that they had phased out rank insignia around 2005 or so.

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New Blue Police for Europe

Post  Les-Art on Sat 30 May 2009, 8:54 am

Hi Guys,
I believe ,as you state BuistR ,that the Kepi as a form of Military headdress will be around for awhile yet.
The 'Gendarmerie Nationale' or should I say the 'Gendarmerie Departmentale' are certainly discontinuing it's use as a working item. The change for the Customs is just rumour along with a merger with the 'Police des Frontiere' who they work closely with at border controls.

Chris, you will find the answer to your question of what the female Lechtenstien police officer is wearing on her shoulder on this website
http://www.rhothor.de/index.htm
Just click on Landespolizei for the current uniforms and insignias.

Best Regards,
Les

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Maybe a new forum category

Post  wfrad on Sat 30 May 2009, 6:22 pm

Hi Les,
Interesting link, never really bothered about police uniform with maybe German 30ís & 40ís being the exception.
The British police force were always regarded has having a dark blue uniform although it was nearer the black end of the spectrum. I think it has darkened a little over the years and could now be classed as black.
As for the German police using New York stile caps, personally they should keep them in New York.
Matter of taste I suppose but when you saw a German cop approached you, you knew he meant business just looking at that cap.
If the uniform goes any further towards the commando fetish we are now seeing, why occur the extra cost of having a separate police uniform when you could just put them all into the marines, the money saved on the uniforms would go on MORE FIRER POWER.
For a small country Liechtenstein certainly does the police force proud.
If this subject is as popular as it appears them maybe separating police uniforms from the military would be an idea.
A separate category for world police uniforms would save searching through the various geographical links by keeping them together.
How about a separate category for those just interested in law enforcement uniforms?
Thanks for the interesting link.
Regards
WF

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Re: New BLUE Police for Europe

Post  ChrisF202 on Sat 30 May 2009, 9:04 pm

Thanks Bill. I thought that the Gendarmerie Nationale handled border guard duties as this is the first time I have heard of this Frontier Police?

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