Uniform equality: are policewomen’s uniforms unflattering?

There have been complaints all over England about the uniform issued to women police officers. However, Holly Whybrow, a police officer, argues that she may feel unattractive, but that’s far better than feeling unequal.

Earlier this year, female police officers up and down the country wrote in Police Review magazine, complaining about their uniform. They bemoaned about how unflattering their issued trousers are.

Whilst she wishes the uniform was a bit more flattering, she’s glad to feel part of a team, and makes up for it by dressing girly when not on the job.

It’s her job, as part of the Response Team, to attend all the calls that are initially made to the police: “We investigate them before they are handed over to the relevant departments for follow up enquiries and further investigation,” she said.

Holly describes the uniform as “awful”.

“I think someone came up with the design many years ago and has never changed it since,” she said.

The uniform includes high-wasted black trousers, “which come so far up your waist they are somewhat similar to those Simon Cowell wears.”

She added: “Secondly they aren’t flattering, they make you look like you have the biggest hips and bum.”


The hats and neckwear are all that differs between sexes in the police force. Photo: Adam Dimmick

However, whilst there is the option for females to wear skirts, Holly says that they aren’t very practical, and that she doesn’t own one.

“We also have thick woollen jumpers, which are very bulky. And we have a protective vest to wear. I am told it is shaped for females, but I’m not convinced!” said Holly.

There are only two small differences between her uniform and that of the males she works with.

“The men wear ties, whereas we wear a cravat and they have the tall hats and we have a bowler-style hat to wear. Their trousers are far nicer [than] ours, as they sit on their hips unlike the female’s version,” Holly said.

Putting on the police uniform strips you of your identity, claims Holly: “You are representing a uniform service so you have to look like everyone else, but in the same breath you wear the uniform with pride.

“I love changing into my own clothes at the end of a shift. You don’t feel girly at all in uniform and it’s so nice to put a nice dress on and go home. It’s important not to lose your femininity when you join a uniform service, but you have to wear your hair in a bun and minimal make up, which isn’t very girly!”

Despite the problems with the uniform, she wouldn’t want her uniform to be different to the men’s uniform.

“Women have fought long and hard to be equal in the police and at times we still aren’t there. So to make our uniform even more different would just separate us more.”

So if you ever find yourself in a uniformed job, maybe you should thank feminists of the past that you’re finally, and rightly, regarded as equal.

One Response to Uniform equality: are policewomen’s uniforms unflattering?

  1. Kimberly says:

    Many manufacturers now have police uniform pants made for the female body. They look exactly the same as your male counter parts