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Fashion forward: In a first since Independence, Mumbai police get new cap

New design will offer more protection from the sun, and is a step towards improving Mumbaiites’ impression of the ‘Pandu Hawaldar’

mumbai Updated: Nov 03, 2017 11:18 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
Gandhi topi,Mumbai police,Deven Bharti
Deven Bharti, joint commissioner of police, law and order, said the new cap has been designed by the bureau of police research and development (BPRD).(HT )

For the first time since Independence, the Mumbai police have introduced a smart cap for officers on field duty. An alternative to the traditional Gandhi topi-like police cap — introduced by the first police commissioner of Mumbai Jehangir Bharucha in 1948 — the headgear is not only trendy but will protect cops from the sweltering heat.

The move is also a step towards improving the public’s impression of policemen — who are colloquially referred to as “Pandu Hawaldar”. The new navy-blue soft cap with a rounded crown and a stiff peak is now an option for 30,000 odd constables who are on the field daily.

Joint commissioner of police, law and order, Deven Bharti told HT that the new cap was designed by the bureau of police research and development (BPRD). “A few months ago, we put the new cap to the test by giving it to around 50 constables on outdoor assignments. The response was overwhelming,” Bharti said.

Following the feedback, the department ordered these caps in bulk and instructed constables to use them on the field. They will, however, be expected to use the old cap for office duty. The liberty to wear the smart cap comes with a rider — it can only be donned with the uniform.

Bharti said the new cap has several advantages over the old cap, which was inconvenient. “The new cap is softer and easier to wear. As it comes with an adjuster, it fits better and does not come off easily if police are on the chase or patrolling on their bikes.” Most importantly, the new cap protects policemen’s faces against sunburn during long bandobast duties.

The Mumbai police logo has been embroidered above the peak to ensure that the cap is not mistaken for ordinary headgear, like those worn by security guards, while ‘Mumbai Police’ is written on its sides in Hindi and English. Above the back plastic adjuster behind, the word ‘Police’ is embroidered. Like the old cap, a yellow strip — symbolic of the Mumbai police — runs across the peak.

Unlike the other articles that come free as part of the uniform kit — comprising a cap, socks, baton, uniform and canvas shoes — the new caps are sold at the police stores in Naigaon for Rs75 a piece. To purchase one, police need a letter from their senior inspector. “Firstly, wearing the cap is optional. Secondly, the practice of giving police a free kit was discontinued over the past couple of years owing to delays in procurement. Instead, our men are given separate allowances to buy articles at pre-approved shops,” a senior official said.

Constable Vinod Bhalerao, 35, from Marine Drive police station said he wouldn’t mind spending on the cap. Another constable from V P Road police station said the new cap is better as the old cap would often fall off. “We would often fold it and keep it in our pocket,” he said.

First Published: Nov 03, 2017 11:18 IST