'It's not wokery' claim as West Midlands Police set to introduce gender-neutral hats

West Midlands Police is set to bring in 'gender-neutral' hats in the first major change to its uniform in decades.

Photo: Steve Woods/newsteam.co.uk
Photo: Steve Woods/newsteam.co.uk

The force said the flat, peaked caps would provide "an additional option" for response and support unit officers and would not replace existing headwear such as the traditional bobby's helmet.

But the move has been criticised by Tory MP Marco Longhi, who described it as a "tick-box exercise in the race to become as woke as possible".

West Midlands Police says the hats, which are already being used by traffic officers, would be "more convenient" for many other officers in frontline roles.

It comes after the Metropolitan Police announced plans for gender-neutral uniforms in a bid to ensure officers adhered to equality laws.

The caps will not replace the traditional helmet but will offer ‘a new option’

A spokesman for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s office said: "A survey of police officers in West Midlands Police found a significant majority in favour of having the option of a peaked hat for our response and support unit officers. Traffic officers have had these hats for many years.

"It provides an option to officers who wish to use these. It is an additional option, not mandatory, nor a replacement for existing headwear. For many this will be more convenient."

Dudley North MP Mr Longhi, said: "It really is astonishing that when people want to see our police force getting to grips with crime they seem more bothered about ridiculous equality initiatives.

"I want to know how much money this is costing, because people will see it for what it is: a tick-box exercise in the race to become as woke as possible. Next they will be offering skirts to the blokes."

A police source told the Express & Star that there were practical reasons behind the move.

"For once this isn't wokery," the source said. "Quite simply, it's easier to get into a police car with a flat cap instead of a tall pointy one."

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Traditional bobby's hats – known as custodians helmets – have been scrapped in recent years by a number of forces, including West Yorkshire and Cheshire.

The Metropolitan Police is said to be consulting officers over whether to make gender-neutral uniforms available to officers. It says it wants to ensure that officers are able to carry out their jobs whilst adhering to the equality of the law.

It has been reported that the Met Police could be in breach of the Equality Act 2010 by not providing separate uniforms for gender-fluid and non-binary police officers.

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