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Bulletproof Turbans For Cops

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Published: Today

BOFFINS are making BULLETPROOF TURBANS so Sikh officers can become gun cops.

Scientists are developing the sturdy turbans made from Kevlar-like material to act as a shield – because the Sikh religion prevents adult males from removing their headpieces.

With more than 2,000 Sikh police officers and staff in the UK, the newly-formed British Police Sikh Association (BPSA), has made the headpiece one of its priorities.

Inspector Gian Singh Chahal, from Kent Police and vice chairman of the BPSA, told respected industry magazine Police Review today: “Sikh officers have been prohibited from becoming firearms officers because our religion does not allow us to remove the turban.

“Nor can we wear the NATO helmet for public order policing."

He added: “There has been some research done into producing a ballistic material for turbans and we would like to follow any opportunity where we could manufacture a ballistic product - made out of something like Kevlar - that would ensure a certain degree of protection so Sikh police officers could take part in these roles.

“We need to approach the Home Office and police forces and to gain their acceptance so that Sikh officers could become firearms and public order officers whilst wearing turbans.

“I think there needs to be a recognition from the Home Office that would allow Sikh officers to carry out these roles. I think the will is there from chief constables but perhaps not yet from the Home Office.”

One Sikh PC, who did not want to be named, said: “It would be incredible if they developed a bulletproof turban.


“It would make life a lot easier for us and would mean we could go for jobs as firearms and public order officers – which a lot of Sikh officers would like to do, but are currently not allowed to go for.”

Last year West Midlands Police spent tens of thousands of pounds trying to find protective headgear to fit over a turban after a Sikh officer applied to join the counter-terrorist Operational Support Unit.

The force spent 18 months looking for a solution, but failed to find any suitable equipment and returned the officer to his job as a beat bobby.

The unnamed officer is reported to have claimed to have been discriminated against and was on long-term sick leave suffering from stress.

Dr Indarjit Singh, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, said Sikhism is the only religion in the world in which wearing a turban is mandatory for all adult males.

He said: “It is mandatory for adult Sikh men to wear the turban.”

Turbans consist of around 15ft of cloth wound around the head.

Sikh men wear them to cover their hair, which they leave uncut in accordance with their religion. They often wear their long beards rolled up.

As well as being a sign of spirituality, the turban is also a symbol of Sikh identity and of courage.

There are more than 750,000 Sikhs, the only religion allowed to ride motorbikes without crash helmets, in the UK.

Sikh soldiers serving in the British Army refused to wear helmets during the First and Second World Wars.

They fought with their turbans on, several receiving the Victoria Cross for acts of gallantry.

A Home Office spokesman said today: “The Government wants a police service that reflects the diverse communities it serves.

“It is down to individual forces to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the religion or beliefs of individual officers, as far as operational requirements permit.”

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