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The Boys in Brown go 2-tone khaki – Thailand’s new police uniform on trial

Tim Newton

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Elastic waistband and fitted baseball caps – the new height of Thai constabulary haute couture to grace the streets of Thailand. Some law-enforcement super models are currently strutting the streets parading some of the ‘nouveau’ police uniforms.

The boys in brown are morphing into the boys in 2-tone khaki with black accessories and utility accents. The move is towards greater comfort and utility… a move from the previous tight-fitting cotton-based uniform to lighter fabrics that breath.

10 officers from 3 police stations – Chakkrawat, Bang Yi Khan and Bukhalo district stations – have been modelling the new look for the past week to see if the changes make their law enforcement more comfortable and agile. And, more importantly, if the elastic waistband will stop their pants from falling down.

In the past the BIB (Boys In Brown) were famous for wearing uniforms, in a fetching shade of pooh-beige, at least 2 sizes smaller than actually required. Whilst it was a ‘good look’ for the few who had maintained a body worth showing off, the vast majority looked like a walnut that had exploded in all the wrong places.

There is a clear motive to make the obligatory brown uniform more comfortable to wear. The elastic waistband will certainly help with that. It will also allow the consumption of morning donuts and free coffees without having to make any pesky adjustments to the belt.

The new shirts have an upper cotton ‘traditional’ brown with a lower section of ‘more breathable’ fabric. Just as well because the new uniform still accessorises with the bulky bullet-proof vest or traffic-cop bib (which look more ‘useful’ than breathable).

The fitted baseball cap and sleeve pockets give them a ’90s rapper video clip on a budget’ look. And, just in case you weren’t sure, there is a huge sign POLICE on the back of the shirt.

It’s hard to look past the ‘very useful’ utility belt that turns an ordinary Bruce Wayne BIB into a veritable Batman. It’s got everything from the matching black truncheon and gun holster, plus a clip for the handcuffs and other slots for future Covid zappers and ‘farang’ detectors.

All that action around the waist has forced the location of the pockets down the side of the thighs. Then again, the modern Thai policeman doesn’t really have the need for cash at the ready.

The metal badges, the only police ID in the world large enough to be seen from the Moon, are being replaced with a fabric equivalent. A number of injuries in the past have been inflicted on police, not by ne’er-do-wells but from the jagged edges of the metal badges.

For shoes the heavy army-style thick leather is being replaced by slightly less heavy “easier to run with” boots.

A committee will compile the feedback from the trial uniform-wearers around the country, as well as reaction from the public. But Pol chief Maj Gen Somprasong says the main aim is to have a more practical and comfortable uniform for working police.

“The committee will make a final decision on the matter after the 10 day trial period and forward the matter to the police chief”.

The new uniforms will cost around 2,000 baht and be provided to police from their annual allowance for uniforms. So far the general reaction from the “test-pilots” is positive.

Keep an eye out for the latest in brown utility fashion in your town. If you’ve seen the new uniforms (which have only been on the streets since May 7), tell us what you think in the comments below.

The Boys in Brown go 2-tone khaki - Thailand's new police uniform on trial | News by Thaiger

The Boys in Brown go 2-tone khaki - Thailand's new police uniform on trial | News by Thaiger

 

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 950 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current CEO for company, based in Bangkok.

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