Italian police object to being sent pink face masks to wear on duty

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Fashion-conscious Italian police are in revolt after receiving batches of pink face masks to wear on duty, arguing that the “eccentric” colour is ill-matched with their uniforms.

Police units in six cities were sent the FFP2 masks from the office of Italy’s Covid-19 emergency commissioner, Francesco Paolo Figliuolo.

After opening the boxes, many officers refused to wear the “inappropriate” masks. This prompted Stefano Paolini (chief of a police union) to write a letter addressed to Lamberto Giannini, head of the interior ministry’s police department.

Paolini stated that it was puzzling that the purchase of pink police masks had been approved. He said the pink colour was too eccentric in relation to the police uniform and could damage the institution’s image.

“We request you to immediately take action to ensure the police wear masks that are consistent with the uniform of state police. The masks were sent out to the police units in Bologna and Pavia, Varese. Ferrara. Venice, Syracuse, and Ferrara.

In a subsequent statement, Paolini said the problem did not arise because of prejudice against the colour pink, “but from the fact that the uniform is regulated”.

“On account of the oath taken, the uniform must have decorum,” he said, adding that during a time of increasing aversion to the police it was important to show sobriety, respect, and “the fact that the uniform is regulated.”

Corriere dilla Sera reported the face masks were also sent to staff in other public institutions such as schools, hospitals, and civil protection offices.

In December, Italy reinstated the requirement that face masks be worn outdoors due to a rise in Omicron-related coronavirus cases. It was already obligatory to wear masks in enclosed public spaces, including on public transport.

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