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Police force blows 100,000 on failed search to find a helmet to cover Sikh officer's turban
Daily Mail ^ | 16th June 2008 | David Wilkes

Posted on 06/20/2008 2:01:04 AM PDT by forkinsocket

A police force spent £100,000 on a failed attempt to find protective headgear that fits over Sikh officers' turbans.

West Midlands Police started its search after one Sikh constable decided he wanted to join the counter-terrorist Operational Support Unit.

The man, thought to be in his mid-20s, was refused a place because he was unable to fit the necessary helmet and respirator over his turban and beard, both of which are requirements for strict adherents to his faith.

According to a police source, the unnamed constable claimed he was being discriminated against and was then assigned the task - while on full pay - of sourcing new equipment that would fit.

A helmet and respirator would be needed for certain counter terrorist operations to guard against possible chemical and biological weapons.

The officer contacted manufacturers across the world to see if they could adapt their gear but after 18 months his search ended in vain and he was restored to regular duties.

A few weeks later he is said to have gone on long-term sick leave suffering from stress.

The source, who estimated the total cost of the failed project, including the officer's wages, at £100,000, said: 'This was a shocking waste of taxpayers' cash.'

West Midlands Police today defended the decision to spend the reported £100,000, calling the figure a "gross exaggeration".

A spokeswoman said: "West Midlands Police is a diverse organisation, which both serves and recruits from a diverse community.

"No Sikh officer has applied and been turned down from joining the Operational Support Unit because of faith issues.

"However, it has been identified that for some members of the Sikh faith, the removal of the turban to wear a helmet and the wearing of a respirator could be problematic.

(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: helmet; police; sikhs; turban; uk
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1 posted on 06/20/2008 2:01:04 AM PDT by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

I guess they never watched Spaceballs. There was the perfect helmet in that movie.


2 posted on 06/20/2008 2:10:57 AM PDT by mkmensinger
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To: mkmensinger

“I guess they never watched Spaceballs. There was the perfect helmet in that movie.”

One can only imagine the lawsuit if somebody pulled that joke on him.

I wonder, do they take their turbans off when they swim?

Is there not some exemption for being “properly attired for the activity in which you are engaged?”

Can they make a turban out of Kevlar?


3 posted on 06/20/2008 2:25:29 AM PDT by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: PLMerite

“Can they make a turban out of Kevlar?”

I suppose it would have to be pre-molded to look like a turban.


4 posted on 06/20/2008 2:31:54 AM PDT by mkmensinger
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To: forkinsocket

Sikh soldiers have served with bravery and distinction without helmets for a very, very long time. They are amongst the best soldiers in the world. I do not think that they require funny-looking helmets: neither, probably, do they.

The search for a suitable helmet is therefore a fool’s errand.


5 posted on 06/20/2008 3:08:53 AM PDT by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: DieHard the Hunter

“The search for a suitable helmet is therefore a fool’s errand.”

All you say is true, but there’s probably some EU Regulation requiring helmets, etc. And you know how statists *love* regulations.


6 posted on 06/20/2008 3:11:09 AM PDT by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: forkinsocket
Sometimes life requires a choice....religion vs occupation, is one of them.

If you can't wear the gear design some YOURSELF, or find another way to serve.

7 posted on 06/20/2008 3:11:45 AM PDT by Kakaze (Exterminate Islamofacism and apologize for nothing.....except not doing it sooner!)
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To: forkinsocket

Historical examples are cited in the article of Sikh soldiers in WW1 and WW2 refusing to wear helmets but that was then. Sikhs are just as suceptible to bullet and fragmentation as anyone else. And they certainly are not immune to CBNR effects.

Did anyone think to ask what the tens of thousands of Sikhs serving in the Indian armed forces do when confronted with the requirement to wear a helmet or a CBNR respirator? How about Sikh firefighters? Hard to believe the answer is to simply go unprotected and die.

Whatever works for an Indian Sikh ought to be good enough for a West Midlands Sikh police officer.


8 posted on 06/20/2008 4:37:51 AM PDT by Captain Rhino ( If we have the WILL to do it, there is nothing built in China that we cannot do without.)
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To: PLMerite

> All you say is true, but there’s probably some EU Regulation requiring helmets, etc. And you know how statists *love* regulations.

(grin!) I recall a few years ago the EU on the subject of Dutch wooden clogs. They were going to be banned as approved safety gear for some dumb reason. In the Netherlands and throughout Europe.

Now, Dutch wooden clogs are jolly uncomfortable until you get used to them, and then they are probably the world’s most comfortable and safest footwear available. I know because I own a well-worn pair. You could drop a large diesel motor on top of them with no damage to your feet.

Running shoes they ain’t — but they are perfect for what they are designed to do: to protect your feet no matter what.

Anyrate, the EU said no, and the Dutch said yes. Eventually, the Dutch won. For once, commonsense prevailed.

All being well, it will work out this way for Sikh turbans. The EU has no legitimate business interfering in this matter.


9 posted on 06/20/2008 4:47:07 AM PDT by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: mkmensinger

10 posted on 06/20/2008 5:02:29 AM PDT by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: DieHard the Hunter

Why not wear a helmet underneath the turban?


11 posted on 06/20/2008 5:08:20 AM PDT by neb52
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To: forkinsocket
Maybe they can get this guy to part with his helmet.

Joe Jacoby's head is bigger than most pumpkins. A Sikh head dress should be no problem.

12 posted on 06/20/2008 5:16:43 AM PDT by Dixie Yooper (Ephesians 6:11)
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To: forkinsocket

Next up, socialized medicine in Britian will be required to allow the non-sterile Burka for Muslim women surgeons.

Hasn’t that happened already?


13 posted on 06/20/2008 5:19:38 AM PDT by Southerngl
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To: forkinsocket

They couldn’t get a custom-made helmet and respirator for less than £100,000???


14 posted on 06/20/2008 6:02:39 AM PDT by Savage Beast (Vote Republican = Vote NO to the Radical Left!)
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To: forkinsocket

What do Sikhs wear for NBC protection in the Indian Army?


15 posted on 06/20/2008 6:08:12 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a Conservative. But I can vote for John McCain. If I have to. I guess.)
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To: forkinsocket

How often do the Brits actually perform any dangerous SWAT actions where his safety would be imperiled?

From everything I read, the only probable actions they may face in the future are taking down little old ladies on hate crimes issues who’ve expressed some concern about the advent of Sharia in her country.


16 posted on 06/20/2008 6:51:12 AM PDT by wildbill
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