Belgium has a new police uniform

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The officers of the Belgian Integrated Police are finally getting new uniforms. And after 22 years, they are certainly due for a change. This is not only because the current uniform is old but also due to the longstanding image problem they have been struggling with. In this article, I will tell you everything about the new uniforms.


The old police uniform

Before we look at the new uniforms, it’s important to first examine what the officers have been wearing up to now.

In terms of appearance, the old uniform is rather simple. The suit consists of various dark blue shades without any noticeable details. According to Nicholas Paelinck, chairman of the Permanent Commission of Local Police and chief of the West Coast police zone, this uniform is a disgrace for the Belgian police. In August 2023, he expressed his frustration during an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN).

“Our uniform commands no respect. (…) When I visit colleagues from other countries, I am deeply embarrassed. We look like we’re part of a marching band. I wear it as little as possible.”


Belgium has a new police uniform

Although the design leaked in 2023, the uniform was finally officially presented on May 31st. During a meeting with Annelies Verlinden, Minister of the Interior, both the new clothing and the new appearance of the vehicles were revealed.

Minister Annelies Verlinden Belgium
Photo left: officers in new clothes | Photo right: Minister Annelies Verlinden (in white)

Development of the New Uniform It was Minister Verlinden who in 2021, after the police expressed their desire for a new uniform, included this in the General Policy Statement. A steering group was then established with the Local and Federal Police as chairpersons.

After several designers submitted their proposals, it was ultimately the Dutch designer Karin Slegers who was tasked with developing the entire clothing package. She is no stranger to functional workwear, having previously designed uniforms for Schiphol Airport and Ambulance Care Netherlands.

Illustration Karin Slegers Federal Police Belgium
Illustration: Karin Slegers
Federal Police Belgium uniform
Image: Federal Police Belgium
Federal Police Belgium uniform
Image: Federal Police Belgium

During the development of the new clothing package, four aspects were important:

  1. Visual identity;
  2. Functionality;
  3. Well-being & safety;
  4. Sustainable development.

Additionally, the Belgian police found it important to work with a layering system. The clothing package includes a thermal layer, comfort layer, thermal top layer, windproof top layer, top waterproof layer, and a ballistic layer.

Besides the various layers, the clothing package also has a different appearance. Opinions on social media are divided over this change. Due to the combination of reflective parts with fluorescent yellow, comparisons are quickly made with the Dutch police.

Belgium has a new police uniform
Image: Federal Police Belgium
Belgium has a new police uniform
Image: Federal Police Belgium

New uniform to strengthen relationship between citizens and police

Paelinck is pleased with the new uniform. “It is with great pride and some emotion that I can speak today about the new visual identity of the Integrated Police. (…) It is my personal belief that this renewed visual identity will also strengthen the trust relationship between citizens and police, thus contributing to a higher quality of life in society.”

In this statement, he points to the core issue. The relationship between citizens and the police in Belgium is not very good. The number of violent incidents against police officers is a growing problem. When an officer was stabbed in the neck in Brussels at the end of 2022 and later died from the wounds, there was outrage. The police took to the streets to protest against the violence but also for higher wages and a good end-of-career arrangement. Minister Verlinden promised to address these issues.

Belgium has a new police uniform

Officers will still have to wait a bit for the new uniforms. The rollout is currently scheduled for the end of 2026 and early 2027. I hope that the new uniforms will help officers in their enforcement duties and that violence against the police will decrease.

What do you think of the new clothing?


Ailee n

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