Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/08/bulletproof_turbans/

Sikh coppers request bulletproof turbans

'Ballistic material' would allow firearms unit role

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 8th May 2009 10:51 GMT

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." ®