Aileen’s Uniform Atlas: Belgium police aim to regain authority with new uniform

Jun 17, 2024 | Aileen's Uniform Atlas

The Pulse is pleased to present Aileen’s Uniform Atlas, a recurring feature written by Aileen Out.
Out is the owner of Prettybusiness, a news blog in the Netherlands that focuses exclusively on work clothing.

The Belgian police have just unveiled their new uniforms, and they were sorely needed. The current uniform is not only 22 years old, but the multitude of different clothing items has made officers less recognizable. One challenge the fresh uniform apparel can hopefully address is violence against police officers, which has been increasing in Belgium for years. According to the organization, this is partly due to the uniform not commanding enough respect. Officers feel they are not taken seriously. But how does the new design create an authoritative look, and will it actually help?

Dutch Influence

The Belgium police have been working on their new uniform since 2021. After considering various international clothing designers, Karin Slegers from the Netherlands was ultimately chosen. This choice is not surprising. Slegers has been designing workwear collections in the neighboring country for more than 40 years. She help outfit the staff of Schiphol Airport, and has designed clothing for ambulance personnel and public transport employees in Amsterdam.

At the launch of the new Belgium police uniforms, the Dutch influence was discussed on social media. The design features reflective and fluorescent yellow stripes, which is very similar to those of the Dutch police. But regardless of the resemblance, the new design achieves the desired authoritative look. The solid dark blue suit that the Belgian police have worn until now did not achieve this. By omitting details, that suit had a rather neutral appearance.

Fluorescent yellow is a popular color

The new uniform remains dark blue, but the bright details create a significant color contrast. This contrast contributes to the stern appearance. Emphasizing the shoulders also makes the officers appear broader, giving them a more dominant presence. Additionally, this choice has benefits in terms of both visibility and safety. To complete the look, the police have also decided to update the appearance of their vehicles. The automobiles will now feature a blue and fluorescent yellow checkered pattern.

The choice of fluorescent yellow is not only characteristic of the Dutch police. In neighboring countries such as France and Germany, the police also use this color on both uniforms and vehicles. From an international perspective, the Belgian uniform fits in well with this. Better than the fluorescent orange color they have used until now.

However, perhaps the color change is particularly significant in this case. A fresh change is much needed. They will have to wait a bit longer, though, as the uniform program will not be officially available for officers to wear until late 2026 or early 2027. Let’s hope the long wait will be worth it.