back to article Sikh coppers request bulletproof turbans

Sikh police officers are asking for "special bulletproof turbans" which would allow them to serve in firearms units, the Guardian reports. There are around 2,000 Sikhs in the police force, but they're unable to pack a piece since existing safety helmets don't fit over their traditional headgear. Accordingly, the recently-formed …

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Compatability

Does anyone know the compatability between the Sikh religion and shooting criminals? I mean, the last thing we need is, "Sorry Guv, I couldn't shoot the criminal; it's against my religion; I'd be saying Hail Mary's for a six month."

I'm all for religious freedom, but when we start mixing it with the secular organisations that are at the heart of the country ... that seems like madness to me.

Some of our already highly trained firearms officers already suffer significant trauma after killing someone ... what would happen to the mental health of a peron who would carry the extra moral weight of a religion on top of that?

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Coat

So...

Would they be sent on sikh and destroy missions?

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Anonymous Coward

Religion

I wonder how many are prohibited from becoming firearms officers because their religion does not allow them to shoot people ?

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Alert

So

your religion doesn't allow you to remove a piece of cloth wrapped around your head, but is perfectly fine with you shooting and killing people.

Somehow i think the priorities may be a little mixed up here.

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Countdown to someone mentioning "Trotter's Crash Turbans"...

...3 ...2 ...1 ... INCOMING!

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Anonymous Coward

Headshot

75 % of what's under a turban is hair/air. Anyone thinking of taking a headshot is unwise, I reckon Sikhs will be safe.

How on earth is a material that needs to be flexible enough to be wrapped around hair going to have the necessary qualities to stop a bullet ? From what I understand, the armed police who shot and killed the unfortunate Brazillian electrician were wearing baseball caps...

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Joke

You've got to be kidding me?!

So now because they're 'different' we're expected to pick up some massive bill for developing kevlar turbans? If you can't adapt or live by the way we live then get the fuck out of dodge.

When in Rome mate, when in Rome.

Incidentally I wouldn't go to India and expect them to start slaughtering cows because I fancied beef sandwiches would I, no I wouldn't, I would respect the fact they hold the cow as some holy beast subject to holy veneration!

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what a load...

What a load of steaming bollocks. Religion, regardless of your particular choice of fairy story, is no excuse for special treatment. I am sick and tired of different brands of voodoo claiming that they are harshly treated because they choose some whacko lifestyle choice over the others. If you want to be an armed response copper that much then you will wear the frikkin helmet and if you aren't prepared to shave your beard off then you can't be a fireman.

We shouldn't be pandering to religion.

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Doesnt bother the Indians

When I was in India earlier in the year, I saw Sikh soldiers manning armed sentry points at the Airports. They werre wearing turbans and not helmets. Why can they not do the same over here? Or how about wearing a top knot under their helmets cos surely those pointy hats the cops wear have enough space under them??

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Black Helicopters

Not ballistic protection, identity protection!

I think the main purpose of these helmets on the police is not to stop a bullet but to stop a camera catching a mugshot and them being identified!

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Stop

Un-PC

Why are they wearing them in the first place? Perhaps it's terribly un-PC of me (har har), but surely the police shouldn't be allowed to have such blatantly religious regalia in the first place while on the job.

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Go

But won't God stop the bullets anyway?

I used to see a guy by me riding around on a motorbike not wearing a crash helmet but a turban.

I used to think "So you put your faith in God before faith in a safety helmet".

Well you have to say this biker guy was dedicated to his religion! But possibly if he comes off that bike hes going to meet his God sooner than later.

Anyhow I'm looking forward to seeing what a bulletproof turban looks like.

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@Headshot By Anonymous Coward

Apparently spider silk will do it =]

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Linux

Sikhs can kill people

Does anyone know the compatability between the Sikh religion and shooting criminals? I mean, the last thing we need is, "Sorry Guv, I couldn't shoot the criminal; it's against my religion; I'd be saying Hail Mary's for a six month."

After you are a baptised sikh you carry a knife with you. To defend yourself.

Also they train in using bladed weapons as part of religion

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Pirate

what a load of bollox!

i cant believe they would spend a dime on this kind of research - if these guys want to become armed officers then stop pissing around, get a haircut and get on with the job. what is it with british society that means everyone has to bend over backwards for poxy religion. its gets right on my tits, as you can probably tell!

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@Michelle, & AC 11:21

One of the things kept underneath the turban is a small symbolic sword, denoting the warrior traditions of Sikhism, so I don't think that being a firearms officer would contradict the main tenets of the religion at all.

Is there a Sikh among the Reg readership who could enlighten us on this one?

@Headshot, I would think it's for those situations where armed response units are waiting outside places where there are known to be gunmen and everyone gets as padded up as possible. The blokes on the Tube weren't wearing body armour either, since it wasn't your average firearms officer job, more of an SO19 thing.

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Awesome....

Pick the parts of a religion you want and the parts you dont .... like it!

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Flame

Alternativly

..screw the hokey fairy taies and accept that certain situations require changes. If you want to be a firearms officer, then you need to wear the gear. no one is forcing you to become a copper ffs.

besides, isnt hiring people based on their religions/race etc to avoid breeching equal rights, inherintly unfair to the other candidates? People should be hired on their ability to do the job, not what religion they are.

non issue imo.

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Political correctness gone too far

Jews can't be bacon-sarnie tasters, and I'm sure they accept that. Why can't sikh's accept this? How many of them are honestly so desperate to become ballistics officers that this is a genuine concern? If they ever produced these I bet maybe 1-2 officers would switch, and that would be it... it's not making a point it's just wasting taxpayers money...

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Joke

Riot!

I'm pretty sure if a squad of heavily armed men wearing turbans will provoke a riot amongst Daily Fail readers.

Anon. because Daily Fail readers scare me too.

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Coat

A title is required.

>Anyone thinking of taking a headshot is unwise

Absolutely true, if you've had any firearms training, you'll know perfectly well that you should always aim for the centre of the chest (assuming the target is not obscured).

Headshots are only useful at point blank range when you have reasonable cause to suspect that your target is an innocent brazilian ^H^H^H^H, sorry, I mean you have reasonable cause to suspect that your target is a human bomb and is about to hit the trigger (and you know it's not a dead-mans trigger)

I'm sure someone will post my main thought - don't turbans cover hair? Which is already dead, has no nerves and is more likely to be parted by a bullet than cause massive trauma to the humans system? With my haircut (or rather, complete lack of it), a bullet proof turban would be a waste of time. Even in the 70s when I made bigfoot look a bit bald, I could have just brushed over any bullet holes in my locks.

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How about they stop being morons?

Surely anyone moronic enough to believe in organised religion is too stupid to be given a gun? Just look at the Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gaza Strip or the US for examples.

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@ Michelle Knight "compatibility"

Sikhs have always been have always been well regarded as warriors (the militarism of the sikhs originated in their opposing the muslims in India so should serve them well when required to shoot terrorists/ Brazilians) and as already mentioned all sikhs are obliged to carry a small sword.

Sikhs have a very proud history of service in the army and also refused to wear helmets in the world wars in which "83,005 turban wearing Sikh soldiers were killed and 109,045 were wounded"

To a Sikh i think the wearing of the turban is much more than a religious thing, it's a symbol of their identity.

send them all back i say

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Just wear their hair down and use a standard hat

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the sikh requirement is to *not cut their hair*, not *wear a turban* per se. They could wear their hair down, plait it and tuck it under their body armour, then wear a normal bullet proof helmet on their head, without violating the religious laws.

I believe there is a steel comb they are also required to wear (the knife traditionally went on the belt, not in the hair), but again, I don't think there is any reason why they couldn't tuck it into a plait.

*I think*. As I say, any sikh reader please correct me!

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Anonymous Coward

Bladed article

"After you are a baptised sikh you carry a knife with you. To defend yourself.

Also they train in using bladed weapons as part of religion"

Well, those Sikh coppers will have to arrest themselves for carrying a bladed article in public.

The more I read about various religions, the more I want religion to have nothing to do, whatsoever, with our state.

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Yes but.......

I remember the time they all got away without wearing crash helmets and it was decreed a turban offers sufficient protection. Tarmac / concrete / bullets.......

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Sikhing the truth

AFAIK , the Sikhs had to fight for their lives and religion from almost the beginning. They're historically warriors. Traditional ceremonies involving huge guys waving massive scimitars, etc.

I would assume that the "problem" is that regulations require firearms officers to wear armoured headgear whilst on duty, and there being no leeway for those who do not want to (in case it messes up their hair, or whatever). I say let 'em go hatless, and put full responsibility for that decision on the officer in question.

But of course, the nanny state wouldn't want to be seen letting informed people take calculated risks. The Daily Mail would be up in arms!

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Boffin

Are Christian police in Britain allowed to wear crosses on their uniforms?

One would think that in a secular organization such as the police, that religious symbols of any kind, be they crosses, crescents, turbans, etc would be prohibited.

But apparently in Britain, to quote George Orwell in Animal Farm, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

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Anonymous Coward

helmets

so what about those sikhs that do have helmets when in military units in islamic countries?

... or are they "not really sikhs"... anyway tolerance of religion does not equal to having religious beliefs changing regulations. As these people can become police officers - they do not HAVE TO. No discrimination there. If you want to have a driving licence you have to pass the tests. If you do not want to pass the test because of your religious beliefs then sorry you do not get a driving licence. People should stop confusing the two things "being discriminated against" and "discriminating against". In this case people are not being discriminated because of their religion. On the contrary, people are discriminating because of their religion! They are allowed to do that, a sikh is allowed not to become an officer with a firearm! This is perfectly acceptable to me. Just as Jews are allowed not to eat pork etc.

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Alien

Scary pointless

Ok as several posters have already pointed out, the turban largely covers hair, and anyone going for a head shot is either a) monumentally dumb or b) a damn fine shot.

Either way, bullet proof bonce top not much use.

If however, it's to spare glancing blows then fine. Just one problem. The structure of any bullet proof items combines two basic things. A flexible component and a rigid one. Ok, they can be combined into one (Kevlar woven into things for instance), but still, every bulletproof object I've worn, seen, drooled over (sad I know) etc has been neither terribly light nor remotely "flexible enough to wind round the head". To get something decently bulletproof that will slow the round, distrubute the force, deflect the round AND look like a turban is going to have to be cast. So sort of like a helmet for instance.

Puzzled of non Daily Fail world

PS KEVLAR ISN'T F**KING BULLETPROOF!!! It's just really, really strong along it's length (sucks on lateral strength iirc).

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Pity

really. Looking at their history, I would assume the Sikhs themselves would rather not care about the helmet in the first place. It is the regulation that insists on officers using one.

How about a helmet designed to look like a turban?

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Paris Hilton

Traditional Wear

Perhaps the same kevlar material can be used for making Kilts so that us Scots can wear our traditional costume on duty - don't really want to get shot in the dangly bits, do you :O

I do think religions and traditions need to learn to bend to be compatible with our progressive modern society - where there is a clear requirement (such as safety equipment) either you choose our modern developments, or you choose to live with your traditions. The important point is, YOU have a CHOICE.

Paris - there must be a joke here somewhere about Paris and helmets.

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Joke

slightly OT

Ravi Bopara is a Sikh. He wears helmet.

Ok - he cut is hair. Fine.

Navjot Sidhu used to wear a helmet.

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Happy

When did the Daily Fail take over El Reg?

Or have the residents of the BBC message boards all decamped here? Most of the comments here would not be out of place on the Twat-o-tron.

You lot need to simmer down a bit before we all get covered in your mouth froth.

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Religion & History

Why are people chiming up with "How can they be religious and carry a gun" as religion and killing are mutually exclusive? If history is anything to go by it tells us that religion makes it EASIER to kill people (crusades, inquisitions, honour killings, 'terrorism', etc).

"Forgiveness" makes it all possible.

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@Anonymous Coward "Scary pointless"

You do remember correctly re Kevlar being strong along its length. This strength causes it to act as a decelerator when a projectile slams into it by deflecting the momentum of the proj. lengthwise.

But that alone isn't enough.

A single length of Kevlar would be next to useless as the proj. would just tend to travel around the fibre in a glancing blow. The bullet stopping effect is caused by having lots of fibers bundled together. However the force of the proj. is simply transfered to the fibers which in a turban type configuration could result in a bit of a head removal situation. Hence the need for some sort of rigid(ish) base material to transfer the force around the old brain container. A configuration commonly found in err... combat helmets.

That said the bravery of Sikhs who regularly go into battle, to this very day, with no effective headgear leaves me in awe. The army's concession to Sikhs has been to provide turbans made from cammo material. Result all round, the army keep the pc brigade off their backs and Sikhs getting to blow the living crap out of the foe of the day.

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To bodly go where no Sikh has gone before

I guess we wont see any Sikh astronauts soon then?

Vaccum with no helmet is a bitch I hear

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Flame

Let 'God' sort it out

Sure their invisible magic friend that lives in the sky can protect them?

Obviously the same goes for Catholics/Jews/Pastafarians/whatever.

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Lateral thinking

Why mess about developing bulletproof turbans? Just make a bigger helmet so they can wear it on top!

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Joke

So....

....Sikh's 'aint big on deep-sea diving then I'll wager!

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@Paul

"When did the Daily Fail take over El Reg? "

It's hard to place exactly but I'd put it around 9-10 months ago. Depressing isn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

Cricketers don't have this issue.

What about construction workers?

I smell bullshit.

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Dead Vulture

@Roger H

Quite.

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Boffin

Sikh perspective

As a turban wearing Sikh.......

Can't speak as a member of the police or services I'm just a keyboard warrior ...

I believe rules and regs state that you have to have the correct protective measures. As has been stated earlier lots of Sikhs are happy to take the risk and let God look after them (as they are want to do on motor cycles in the Uk and in the armed forces for other countries) Sikhs have a martial history and have served in her majesty's forces whilst wearing turbans in several campaigns without whinging and moaning about it.

The sensible course of action would be to let them take the risk - they know what a bullet is capable of doing and it is there choice to forego protection. The nanny state would not be happy with that however, and therefore puts up barriers.

Equally those Sikh's unwilling to go into that job without protection should not expect special treatment.

Rather than explain the why's and wherefore's of Turban wearing I'l just link : http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php?title=Turban

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@ Stef (13:28 GMT)

Pastafarians? I for one welcome our italian cuisine-munching secular prophets. Or did you mean the fundamentalist Druids- the Pastiefarians?

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Alert

Oh for pity's sake...

You don't see the Israeli defence force kitted out with kevlar yarmulkes, do you? They wear helmets because helmets are effective. For similar reasons construction workers in Delhi wear hard hats, not heavily starched turbans. If a job requires a certain type of protective clothing, wear that clothing or don't do the job.

Other unlikely combinations: nudist arc-welders, eskimo sauna attendants, etc

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these comments are so depressing

after reading this page i am really feeling disgust and hatred towards most of the prev posters. The vast majority of you should be thinking emigrating to the deep south of the u.s. as your bigotry and small mindedness would be right at home with those inbred, fascist, right wing, fundamental christians.

the sikh religion is one of the most beautiful in the world, and is full of teachings of tollerance and understanding of others and also the responsibility of the individual to live right. One of my favorite aspects of sikhism is that there is no clergy as we would reconise, again its the individual that chooses to live right or not, and most sikh have a heavy tolerance of other religions as they belive that any path towards holyness is the right path.

As to your so called conflict of interest between religous beliefs and serving with the police, i cant see any as all sikhs will strive to adheer to the princples of "Sant-Sapai" (translated as saint soldier); to practise their belief always (rather than on just a particular day or time ie: just Sunday or Friday); to maintain and protect the cosmic balance in the world; to guard against tyranny, discrimination, evil and injustice, wouldnt it be nice if more coppers on the beat conducted themselvs with these princaples in mind??

we all have a personal identy, and if that identity dosent infringe on others you have the undying right to express it. this matter isnt about sikhs insisting that they should have special considerations made for them, but health and safety regulations preventing them from expressing their deeply held sense of identity while trying to serve their communities, and to protect you and me, after all in the military sikhs already activly serve without protective helmets, and have been doing so, protecting our country and the ex empire for hundreds of years.

So to most of you above, and you all know who im talking about, why dont you all do the world a favour and fuck off and die, your holding the human race back and until we can wipe your bigotry off the face of the planet we will be forever be stuck in the shite that we all face every day. like my dear grandmother used to say "if you have nothing constructive to say, JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP, pass the biscuits and get a job"

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Thanks, Harps

Seems to me that the people involved are just saying "if we have to wear a helmet/bulletproof thing, can you help us make a turban into one"

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Anonymous Coward

Anyone seeing the general theme in these comments?

I'm sort of getting the feeling that maybe "the people" are not quite as keen on our cultural soup as the politicians would like to think. [or make us believe] Could it be perhaps that we are fundamentally or at least historically a society based on the Christian religion and that the majority, [well I'm sort of guessing it's still a majority for the moment] of residents would like to see it stay that way .. ?

I heard a chap say recently;

"I don't care where you come from or what colour your skin is, or even what religious denomination you choose, if you want to be British with all that entails - I'm happy to have you living next door. If on the other hand you want to change our society to suit yourself, say changing the rules to allow for the burning of dead bodies in a field .. I'd be just as happy if you decided to do it somewhere else (!)"

And I don't think he's alone.

Would be nice if the majority had a voice for a change ...

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Happy

@taxpayers money

Could everyone banging on about tax payers money please remember that all our turban wearing friends (750,000 odd) pay taxes too? If it helps pretend that your tax money goes towards keeping them out in the first place, and theirs go towards bulletproof turbans.

Sounds like a few coppers can't fit the regulation helmets on and want the job anyway. I say let them not wear helmets if they feel that strongly about it, it's their head on the line not ours! So long as they sign legal waivers that say they can't sue if they have any head related injuries whilst on the job of course.

Anyway, I'd have thought you'd prefer to have more gun toting police so you could get them to shoot non ID carrying, DNA databased underage crims that are dropping litter in your street and shouting loudly after 9pm. Nothing to fear nothing to hide!!

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