Bobbies in Basel: Police in Swiss city to wear new British-style uniforms

Bobbies in Basel: Police in Swiss city to wear new British-style uniforms

"Is it to store their lunch or to hide a surprisingly ovoid head?" Many people have questioned why the British police wear so-called Bobby hats on the beat. Now, Swiss police in the city of Basel will be subjected to the same questions, after they released their new, updated, UK-inspired uniform to a mixed reaction online.

Swiss police in Basel to be given new uniforms

In an announcement on Facebook, reported by 20 Minuten, the emergency services indicated that the five-o in Basel will be switching from Bebbis to Bobbies with the release of their new uniform. The new equipment for all officers, which will be gradually phased in from May 30 until mid-July, is designed to be quick-drying, breathable and odour-inhibiting. 

It also contains a large amount of elastic to make sure the wearer feels comfortable mid-foot chase with a villain, with different gear suited to the ever-changing weather in Switzerland. In a statement, Basel Police said "the old uniform no longer met the current requirements in terms of equipment - both in terms of functionality and external appearance." 

British-style uniform for formal events in Basel

So far, so predictable. However, on closer inspection of the uniform, people on the internet started to see and joke about its striking resemblances to the uniforms used in the UK, most notably the so-called Custodian or “Bobby” helmet. First used by the Metropolitan Police in London in 1863 to replace the top hats that the constables of Sir Robert Peel used to use, the hat is still used in 40 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

A spokesperson for the police in Canton Basel-Stadt, Stefan Schmitt, told 20 Minuten that the new Bobby helmet will be used during ceremonial and “representative” events like Basel Fasnacht. "These helmets are intended to represent the historical connection between the police force and the city of Basel and its population", he concluded, noting that when it comes to outfit choices for the emergency services, “they are never to everyone's liking."

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

Read more



Leave a comment