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Police: 'Please don't make us wear blue'

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Police: 'Please don't make us wear blue'
A Bavarian state police officer (l) in the traditional green uniform walks beside a federal officer in blue. Photo: DPA
16:14 CET+01:00
Police in Bavaria have voted against a uniform upgrade opting to keep the same forest-green outfits they have worn since the 70s. The state is the last in Germany where police do not perform their duties in EU regulation blue.

The distinctive Bavarian police rig, featuring moss-green trousers and a heavy green tunic with a beige shirt, was designed in the 70s by Heinz Oestergaard, but since EU member states agreed on a unified standard blue for uniforms in 1998, all 15 other German states have ditched it.

However, despite the decades-old uniforms not being waterproof or breathable, a union poll of around 9,000 uniformed officers showed 56.9 percent wanted to keep it, as compared to 43.1 percent supporting the change to modern blue outfits, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Thursday.

Defenders of the traditional colour scheme argue it gives officers a "presence", while a switch to blue would make state police seem no different from federal officers, railway security guards or train conductors, all of whom wear blue.

But some find the uniforms antiquated and impractical, the Süddeutsche reported. One officer said the thick tunic was "unwearable in the summer," while another opined the outfits were so ill-adapted for duty they must have been made for "couch potatoes."

And the unflattering female uniforms led one officer to say wearing it on duty made her feel she was being “laughed at," with ladies' trousers so loosely cut that it was impossible to look as smart as male colleagues.

"A lot of female colleagues prefer the male trousers as they sit on the hips better, are more modern and less ungainly," she added.

The Bavarian police's apparent determination to keep their green has led to the state’s interior ministry to set up a special work group, and interior minister Joachim Herrmann is expected to give a press conference on the subject next week.

Jürgen Ascherl of the German Police Union (DPolG) told the Süddeutsche a committee should be set up to do an online survey among all 27,000 Bavarian uniformed police to find out once and for all what colour they should wear on the beat.

"Anything else is simply not representative," he said.

READ MORE: Cash-strapped police disband display team

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