New riot police uniform: better protection, more comfort

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Netherlands – The police Mobile Unit (ME) is receiving an improved uniform. About three thousand riot police colleagues from all over the Netherlands will be fitted with their riot gear in the coming months. The new riot police uniform offers more protection and greater wearing comfort. The uniform is specially designed for the specific tasks of the ME and the three phases of scaling up and down. ME colleagues from all units are involved in developing and testing the new uniform.

Paul van Musscher, director of the Police Services Center: ‘It is important that our operational colleagues can do their work safely and well. In recent years, colleagues have had to deal with violent riots and targeted violence several times. The new uniform offers better protection in such situations, while wearing comfort has also increased, partly by combining different layers of clothing and better ventilation. We have continuously taken the wishes of the riot police into account during development. They know better than anyone what the uniform must meet.’

Flex concept

The riot police’s efforts are aimed at preventing or combating disruption of public order. According to the flex concept of the Dutch police, the riot police can be scaled up and down in three phases. In the first phase, riot police do their work as regular police officers, for example to manage a demonstration. Depending on the threat, it can be scaled up, whereby protective pieces are put on over the uniform. In the event of serious disruptions to public order, the helmet and shield also follow in the final phase.

Frank Paauw, national portfolio holder for Conflict and Crisis Management: ‘We prefer to stand between citizens and not against them. We have looked for an image that suits our police, without making concessions to protection and safety.’


The new uniform has a number of advantages over the previous one. Better ventilation limits body heat retention as much as possible. By combining different layers of clothing, the uniform can also be better adapted to different weather conditions. The protective pieces are worn over clothing and provide better protection for vulnerable body parts, such as the collarbone. The materials used are fire-retardant and equipped with the latest techniques to extinguish flames.

ME officers involved

The police services center has involved the riot police colleagues from the start in the development of the new uniform. It started with try-out days in 2019 where uniforms and protection materials were viewed and tested. There have been brainstorming sessions with users and users have tested the clothing in practice during wearing tests.

ME’er Andrea took part in the wearing tests: ‘It is nice to see how our suggestions have been taken into account. Sometimes it’s just the little things, such as the attachment of the shoulder pads to the arm protection, which makes them easy to apply. But above all it has become a uniform that is comfortable and in which I can do my work well and safely.’

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