Sillitoe Tartan

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Black and white Sillitoe Tartan, commonly used for police in the United Kingdom (other than the City of London Police who use red and white).
Blue and white Sillitoe Tartan, commonly used for police in Australia and New Zealand.

Sillitoe Tartan is the distinctive black and white chequered pattern which was originally associated with the police in Scotland, but which later spread to Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of the United Kingdom, as well as to some other places such as Chicago and Pittsburgh. Based on the diced bands seen on the Glengarries that are worn by several Scottish regiments of the British Army, the pattern was first adopted for police use in 1932 by Sir Percy Sillitoe, Chief Constable of the City of Glasgow Police.[1]

Sillitoe Tartan may be composed of several different colours and number of rows depending on local custom, but when incorporated into uniforms, or vehicle livery, serves to uniquely identify emergency services personnel to the public.

Usage by country[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Police officers with Sillitoe Tartan on their jackets

The Sillitoe tartan was an exclusively Scottish phenomenon until introduced in South Australia in 1961.[2] From 1972, within the United Kingdom, the original black and white Scottish version began to rapidly spread throughout England and Wales and it is now used by all police forces in Great Britain.

Most forces use black and white chequered hat bands, however the City of London Police is unique in that it uses distinctive red and white chequers. The City of London Corporation also run the Hampstead Heath Constabulary and the Billingsgate Market Constabulary (who are no longer attested as constables but retain the historic title), who both also use red and white chequers.[3][4][5] The Hammersmith and Fulham Parks Constabulary, whom are run by the local authority, also originally used red and white chequers in line with their corporate colours of the council but they reverted to the standard type.[6]

The now defunct Royal Parks Constabulary originally wore green and white chequers, but later changed to the standard police blue and white chequers. The Royal Parks Constabularly Scotland were a separate force to their aforementioned English counterparts and they also used green and white chequers.[7]

Blue and white chequers are also associated with the police, and may be used on vehicles and signage. Subsequent to the launching of Battenburg markings on police vehicles in the 1990s, the police introduced retro-reflective versions of the Sillitoe tartan markings to their uniforms, usually in blue and white, rather than the blue and yellow used on vehicles.

Australia[edit]

Blue and white chequers have become the ubiquitous symbol of policing in Australia. The pattern was introduced into the country by the Commissioner of the South Australia Police in 1961, following a fact-finding tour of Glasgow in 1960.[8] The police forces of the remaining states and territories progressively adopted the pattern during the 1970s.[8]

While blue and white chequers denotes police across Australia (with the notable exception of the Australian Federal Police, which uses black and white chequers), other coloured chequered patterns may be used to denote other emergency services and particular usage varies from state to state. For example, in New South Wales (NSW) the Ambulance Service uses red and white chequers on ambulances and paramedic's uniforms, while the State Emergency Service uses orange and white Sillitoe Tartan. St. John Ambulance uses a white and green pattern on their vehicles and operational uniforms in both South Australia and Victoria. In New South Wales the Roads and Traffic Authority Traffic Emergency Patrol have adopted a yellow and purple Sillitoe Tartan[9] whereas the Victorian counterpart, VicRoads have adopted a green and white variant.[10]

New South Wales Police highway patrol vehicle with blue and white chequers
Police officer in New Zealand with chequered band on hat and stab vest
NSW State Emergency Service vehicles with orange and white chequers
National patterns
Sillitoe-blue.svg State/Territory/Service Police Blue / White
Sillitoe-black.svg Australian Federal Police Black / White
Sillitoe-orange.svg State/Territory Emergency Service Orange / White
State patterns
Sillitoe-red.svg NSW: Ambulance Service
Northern Territory: Fire and Rescue Service
Victoria: Country Fire Authority
Red / White
Sillitoe-green.png NSW: Patient Transport Service
NSW: Volunteer Rescue Association
South Australia and Victoria: St. John Ambulance
Green / White
Sillitoe-red-blue.png South Australia: Metropolitan Fire Service Red / Navy
Sillitoe-red-orange.png South Australia: Country Fire Service Red / Orange
Sillitoe-navy-yellow.png NSW: Corrective Services,

South Australia: Police - Protective Security Services, Victoria: Police - Protective Services Officers

Yellow / Navy
Sillitoe-red-yellow.gif NSW: Fire and Rescue NSW,

South Australia: Country Fire Service

Yellow / Red
RTA TEP sillitoetarten.png NSW: Roads and Maritime Services Traffic Emergency Patrol Yellow / Royal purple

New Zealand Police[edit]

General law enforcement in New Zealand is the responsibility of the country's national police service. The New Zealand Police wear a blue uniform, similar in colour to those found in Australia, and share the same three-row Sillitoe Tartan of blue and white. The pattern is also borne across stab vests and elsewhere.

Canada[edit]

Use of the Sillitoe Tartan is rare in Canada and is usually limited to auxiliary police services. For example, the Toronto Police Auxiliary wear a red and black chequered band on their caps.

A two-row Chicago-style Sillitoe tartan is borne on the high-visibility vests of the Vancouver Police (along the edges of the horizontal and vertical reflective strips), but not on their high-visibility jackets nor other uniforms.

United States[edit]

Only a few police forces in the United States have adopted the chequered pattern: the Chicago Police Department, Cook County Sheriff's Police, Brookfield (Illinois) Police, Forest Park (Illinois) Police, Evergreen Park (Illinois) Police, Hillside (Illinois) Police, and the Pittsburgh Police. The American departments use a two-row pattern, instead of the three-row pattern common in Europe and Australasia. Many other departments in the United States and Canada, while lacking the tartan on their cap bands, have begun using two-row reflective versions as part of the design on high-visibility outer garments and vests.

Chicago Police officers with Sillitoe Tartan hat bands and horse bridle
  • Chicago Police Department's pattern is dark blue and silver for patrolmen and detectives, and dark blue and gold for sergeants and higher ranks. Sillitoe Tartan caps were introduced in 1967.[11][12] The band is around not only the department's service caps, but winter knit caps, summer baseball-style caps, the campaign hats and horse bridles of the mounted unit, bicycle helmets, and dog collars as well; it is not worn on the fur trim winter hat nor the light blue riot/motorcycle helmets. The Chicago Police also use the pattern on some signage, graphics, and architectural detail on newer police stations.
  • The police of Brookfield, Forest Park, Hillside, and Evergreen Park follow the same color protocols as nearby Chicago, although Evergreen Park and Hillside use black rather than dark blue, in keeping with their uniforms.
  • The Pittsburgh Police use a dark navy blue and gold pattern, in keeping with their uniform colours. Pittsburgh's use of the tartan is in keeping with the blue and white chequerboard band across the city's coat of arms and flag, and the prominence of black and gold in the city's arms, flag, and sports teams' uniforms, inter alia.
  • Whilst not part of their standard uniform, officers from the Joliet Police Department (Illinois) have been noted to wear a green and white chequerboard band around their hats during the Chicago's Saint Patrick's Day Parade.[13]
  • In Florida Deerfield Beach Fire Station 102 use a yellow and red 3 tier sillitoe tartan pattern on the sides of their rescue amubulance. This pattern is identical to that used by Fire and Rescue NSW.

Spain[edit]

Blue and white sillitoe tartan is used by the several local Spanish police forces. Both the Toledo and Mijas local policia use a three tiered version on vehicles in a fashion very similar to Australian police vehicles.[14][15][16] The Ajuntament de Sóller and Barcelona (Guàrdia Urbana) local Policía both use two tiered blue and white versions.[17][18]

Brunei[edit]

The Royal Brunei Police Force use blue and white sillitoe tartan on various police vehicles but not on uniforms.[19][20]

Malaysia[edit]

The Royal Malaysia Police use a gold and blue sillitoe tartan on vehicles but not on any uniforms or insignia.[21][22]

Hong Kong[edit]

The Hong Kong Police Force use to a limited extent both two and three tier blue/white Sillitoe Tartan schemes (Battenburg markings) on traffic vehicles. This pattern appears to be similar to the Australian style of police markings.[23][24]

The Netherlands[edit]

The plan for a national uniform for local municipal enforcement officers contains the Sillitoe Tartan patterns on the cap and shirts, sweaters and jackets on a uniform similar to that of the Spanish local police.

Norway[edit]

The different emergency units of Norway can be distinguished by the colour scheme of the sillitoe tartan, where the checker pattern alternates between a colour and reflective white squares.

  • Police: matte black and reflective white checker - Used only on clothing uniform
  • Fire brigade: reflective red and reflective white checker - Used on clothing and vehicle uniform
  • Ambulance/paramedic: reflective green and reflective yellow checker - Used on clothing and vehicle uniform
  • Civil defence: blue and white checker - Used only on clothing uniform

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sillitoe Tartan". AFP National Police Memorial Steering Committee. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  2. ^ http://www.sapolicehistory.org/c_band.html
  3. ^ 'Picture of Hampstead Heath Constabulary flat cap' http://www.google.co.uk/search?client=safari&hl=en&biw=1024&bih=672&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=s7oUVI-BBJTWau_JgsgC&q=hampstead+heath+constabulary&oq=hampstead+heath+constabu&gs_l=tablet-gws.1.0.0j0i24l2.42731.48527.0.49854.26.15.1.10.10.0.233.1516.9j4j1.14.0....0...1c.1.53.tablet-gws..1.25.1673.MhCLqvskCLU#facrc=_&imgrc=u2V1oxzVrud99M%253A%3BZUC6KsonOmIuLM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fi.ebayimg.com%252Ft%252FUK-POLICE-RARE-HAMPSTEAD-HEATH-SPECIAL-CONSTABULARY-Cap-NO-BADGE-%252F00%252Fs%252FNTAwWDY0Mw%253D%253D%252Fz%252FJ9QAAOxySoJTWMxA%252F%2524_35.JPG%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.policespecials.com%252Fforum%252Findex.php%252Ftopic%252F144750-hampstead-heath-constabulary-helmets%252Fpage-2%3B300%3B233
  4. ^ 'Picture of Hamstead Heath Constabularly Officer' http://www.google.co.uk/search?client=safari&hl=en&biw=1024&bih=672&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=s7oUVI-BBJTWau_JgsgC&q=hampstead+heath+constabulary&oq=hampstead+heath+constabu&gs_l=tablet-gws.1.0.0j0i24l2.42731.48527.0.49854.26.15.1.10.10.0.233.1516.9j4j1.14.0....0...1c.1.53.tablet-gws..1.25.1673.MhCLqvskCLU#facrc=_&imgrc=YozE7BvPYbzdEM%253A%3BUlTDiZ-BXl1RAM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fimg861.imageshack.us%252Fimg861%252F2141%252Fkf3cd.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.policespecials.com%252Fforum%252Findex.php%252Ftopic%252F144750-hampstead-heath-constabulary-helmets%252F%3B1024%3B768
  5. ^ 'Picture of Billingsgate Market Constabulary Officers (these are not police officers) http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/03/15/article-2293925-18AF0682000005DC-787_634x405.jpg
  6. ^ 'Picture of H&F Parks Constabulary Cap' http://www.politie-petten.org/images/ENG-83B_01.jpg
  7. ^ 'Picture of flat cap' http://adintpolcol.tripod.com/HRParks.jpg
  8. ^ a b "Know your profession". Australian Federal Police. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  9. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ample/6610920137/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  10. ^ http://www.plateshed.com/forum/uploads/post-35-1111569103.jpg
  11. ^ http://tribune-files.imagefortress.com/attachment1s/201654/medium_wm/AEG-694-CT_F.JPG?1275978531
  12. ^ http://tribune-files.imagefortress.com/attachment1s/201655/medium_wm/AEG-694-CT_B.JPG?1275978535
  13. ^ http://www.chicagoclout.com/weblog/archives/2008/03/joliet_police_department_at_ch.html
  14. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/12700690@N07/3307095851/in/faves-garciarf/
  15. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/40383508@N03/4941564990/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  16. ^ http://www.police-car-photos.com/picture/number3448.asp
  17. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/diwan/3257886734/in/set-72157613172996597
  18. ^ http://www.police-car-photos.com/picture/number1921.asp
  19. ^ http://www.police-car-photos.com/picture/number344.asp
  20. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/bomba113/3742414690/
  21. ^ http://www.police-car-photos.com/picture/number1219.asp
  22. ^ http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/only-half-of-police-weapons-lost-recovered/
  23. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierratas/6143135489/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  24. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/28395154@N06/3709535476/