Sikh coppers request bulletproof turbans
'Ballistic material' would allow firearms unit role
Sikh police officers are asking for "special bulletproof turbans" which would allow them to serve in firearms units, the Guardian reports.
There are around 2,000 Sikhs in the police force, but they're unable to pack a piece since existing safety helmets don't fit over their traditional headgear. Accordingly, the recently-formed British Police Sikh Association is pressing the Home Office to address the matter.
The association's vice-chairman, inspector Gian Singh Chahal, explained to Police Review: "Sikh officers have been prohibited from becoming firearms officers because our religion does not allow us to remove the turban.
"There has been some research done into producing a ballistic material [for turbans]. We would like to follow any opportunity where we could manufacture a ballistic product, made out of a synthetic fibre, that would ensure a certain degree of protection, so Sikh police officers could take part in these roles."
He stressed: "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." ®
There is already a solution
In the forces, Sikhs have to wear helmets but in a compatible manner.
See page 11, section 0126 d. of this document:
Yep, that'll mean the helmets from SpaceBalls :-)
It wouldn't be a turban....
It would be a "turban-like headpiece" -- a real turban is made from a folded strip of cloth, something that's not going to work if its made from Kevlar (and I doubt that the result would be bulletproof). I suppose you could also stick a turban to the outside of a standard ballistic helmet but the result would resemble a Christmas cracker hat... it would look really silly.
I'm afraid the Sikhs are going to have to make some choices here. After all, they don't have to be firearms officers, its a choice (just like they don't have to do traffic duty on a motorcycle). The turban's only there to manage your hair after all -- its the hair that's important, not the headdress.