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November 20, 2007

The fragrant policemen of Gujarat


Gujarat is a state in India where summer temperatures routinely hit 110°.

To that end, the police there last summer received new uniforms with jasmine, rose and citrus scents embedded in the cotton, in the hope of softening their olfactory blow.

Above, a Gujarat policeman in the old uniform.

A BBC News piece of March 14, 2007 told the story; it follows.

    Gujarat police try to smell sweet

    Police in India's western state of Gujarat are to try out new fragrant, light-weight uniforms to see if they make them less sweaty and smelly.

    The uniforms will be doused with the smell of flowers and citrus to help police improve their image by being less malodorous in the heat of summer.

    Designers say that they hope the new uniforms will also be more comfortable.

    They say they will contain more "ventilation outlets" so that sweat has a greater chance of evaporating.

    The co-ordinator of the apparel design section of India's National Institute of Design (NID), Somesh Singh, told the BBC that the idea to design more fragrantly pleasing police uniforms was agreed with the police authorities last month.

    "The purpose is to do away with the perspiration odour," he said.

    "We have decided to make these uniforms more sweet smelling. Three different fragrances - jasmine, rose and citrus will be incorporated into these uniforms."

    Mr Singh said that the designs would use the latest fibre optic technology to make sure the uniform not only smells good but glows at night so officers can be seen more clearly.

    He said the uniforms had also been specially designed to make overweight policemen look more streamlined when they are on the beat.

    "They have been designed in a manner to ensure that the paunch of the wearer does not draw the attention of anyone looking at him," Mr Singh said.

    The BBC's Rajeev Khanna in Ahmedabad says that any initiative to make the 300,000 police in the state appear more trim and less smelly is bound to be welcomed, as many officers are a little over-weight and have to work long hours in a hot and dusty environment.

    Our correspondent says that obesity among police has been attributed to their erratic work routines and high stress levels, which officers say forces them to eat too much too quickly.

    The cost of designing the new uniforms has yet to be calculated, Mr Singh said, but it is hoped they will be introduced in the next few months.

    He said that they had been specially designed to retain their sweet smelling odour for a number of washes, because the fragrance is embedded in the cotton during processing.

    Policemen in Gujarat
    It's hoped that police will have new uniforms in the next few months

    Textile experts say that while such technology does exist, it is not inexpensive.

    "Our research shows that unless a lot of money is spent, clothes will eventually lose their pleasing smell after being washed," a spokesman at the Heriot Watt School of Textiles and Design in the UK said.

    Police in Gujarat seem eager to try out the new uniforms as soon as possible.

    "We have worn a thick cotton brown coloured uniform with a broad belt and plastic badges for several decades now and we are tired of it," senior police officer RK Patel told the Reuters news agency.

    "If the new uniforms makes us stand out in the crowd, keep us active with pleasant aroma and is yet very formal, then we are all for it," he said.

November 20, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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