Road towards a new look
The Belgian Federal Police launched a survey in the course of 2013, asking several suppliers of protective clothing for advice on the development of a new bicolour uniform concept. Federal Police designed an innovative and asymmetric look which was very different from the existing blue jackets. Besides some practical improvements, this new look also intended to improve officer’s visibility, which worked out perfectly thanks to the asymmetric fluorescent orange-red surface and the remarkable reflective “arrows” on the uniform.
The 2016 tender
The tender was published in 2016 and 8 suppliers competed. Some were excluded due to not fully complying with the asked design. For example, the positioning of the retroreflective striping had to resemble the design perfectly and the fabric colour needed to meticulously match the colour specifications. In addition, the fabric description had to be followed and the look of the parka and softshell had to be aligned impeccably.
Further, the watertightness of the parka was of major importance. This was tested in a rain tower test after washing the parka ten times. Then, the watertightness of the seams was thoroughly checked. One drop of water penetrating the seams was enough to be excluded from the tender.
Sioen finally won the tender in December 2018.
The final bicolour parka and softshell
The final version of the uniform consists of a 3-layered laminate parka without a lining combined with a 3-layered laminate softshell jacket. The softshell can be worn separately but, when zipped in, it can be used as a warm lining inside the parka, thanks to the parka’s Interchangeable Lining System (I.L.S.). That system allows you to quickly adapt your outfit by adding or removing the softshell.
The bicolour parka protects the police officers against rainy and windy weather conditions, while remaining comfortable and breathable. The softshell, on the other hand, only protects the user against light rain. On the inside of its laminate, the fleece provides warmth, while the laminate itself is windproof.
The modern bicolour parka and softshell with retroreflective stripes include name and rank tags on the chest pockets. They have a medium length and their tailoring is a bit longer on the back, starting from the sides. In addition, the jackets have multiple pockets that allow the police officers to store all necessary accessories.