150th anniversary: New uniforms for police

The Royal Fiji Police patrol car team, Constable Eroni Bainivalu and Constable Hari Prasad in their new uniforms in 1978. Picture: FILE

There was a change in police uniforms in 1978 after Indo-Fijian officers of the then Royal Fiji Police complained that the black tunics were too hot to wear.

Even iTaukei police officers often said they were hampered by their traditional serrated white sulu when running.

The Fiji Times noted on February 10, 1978 that the new uniforms were a light blue shirt with dark blue long trousers and a dark blue cap with a light blue and white check band.

The new uniforms police belt with the crown on the buckle was retained and the new uniforms included a cap that was to be worn by both Fijian and Indian officers from the rank of constable to sergeant as worn by Fiji Police Force personnel around the country.

This newspaper highlighted that the changeover of the uniforms would be gradual because stocks of materials for the old uniforms would have to be used up first.

The February 10 article reported that it could take two years before the old uniforms disappeared entirely.

First to be spotted wearing the new uniforms in Suva were the Royal Fiji Police patrol car team, Constables Eroni Bainivalu and Hari Prasad.

Doubts from the public were quickly cleared as they were informed about the new uniforms.

And people were not alarmed when sighting the unusually dressed people controlling traffic or conducting patrols within the city.

Since the release of the new uniforms, the force started receiving approving remarks about it.

According to this newspaper, the new uniforms were chosen by the police development committee.

The main reason for the change was to have one uniform for all races of officers in the force.

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