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Change to new uniforms by Baden-Württemberg police progressing well
Mar '11
Of the approximately 25,000 police officers serving in Baden- Württemberg, about 20,000 wear uniform. Since October 2010, they have been kitted out with a new blue police uniform. This means that after more than 30 years, and following the departure of the green police cars, now the standard green/beige outfits of the upholders of law and order are also vanishing from the streets.

However, the change of colour was not just a question of fashion. First and foremost, the functionality of the uniforms has been greatly improved. For the standard uniform alone - that worn by officers on patrol and investigating officers - a list of about 250 requirements was identified by a special working group.

Factors of key importance were recognisability as police officers, safety aspects, protection against cold, durability and comfort. Furthermore, the call for tenders from manufacturers all over Europe required proof that all components of the uniform had been independently tested for harmful substances.

For the standard uniforms, compliance with the strict regulations of the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 was checked by the Hohenstein Institute in Bönnigheim. The internationally accepted list of criteria which underlies the testing for harmful substances under the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 covers some 100 individual substances.

Elisabeth Weisheit, Head of the OEKO-TEX team at the Hohenstein Institute, described the scope of the testing: "At our laboratories, the components of the uniforms are tested for, among other things, carcinogenic and allergenic dyes, banned azo dyes and pesticide residues. Strict limits for formaldehyde, extractable heavy metals, chlorinated phenols and toluenes and organostannic compounds must be met. The textiles must also have a defined degree of colourfastness and a skin-friendly pH value."

Following the testing by the Hohenstein Institute, the Baden-Württemberg police uniforms joined the millions of products around the world that are entitled to bear the "Confidence in textiles" label. Mrs Weisheit is pleased for the police officers that the uniforms are of such a high quality:

"We haven't had any complaints. People wearing them can be confident that, even if they wear their uniforms for a long time, no hazardous quantities of harmful substances will be released, for example in perspiration. In view of the long periods they are worn for every day, and, in some cases, the physical exertions of the officers, that is an important quality factor."

Hohenstein Institute

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