Custodian helmet
Overview
 
Custodian helmet or centurion helmet, technically known as a 'Home Office pattern helmet', is a helmet
Helmet
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...

 worn by many policemen
Policing in the United Kingdom
Law enforcement in the United Kingdom is organised separately in each of the legal systems of the United Kingdom: England & Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland ....

 in England and Wales.
The custodian helmet is the traditional headgear of the "bobby on the beat", worn by male constable
Constable
A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions.-Etymology:...

s and sergeant
Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

s on foot patrol
Patrol
A patrol is commonly a group of personnel, such as police officers or soldiers, that are assigned to monitor a specific geographic area.- Military :...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 (a peaked cap
Peaked cap
A peaked cap, forage cap, barracks cover, or combination cap is a form of headgear worn by the armed forces of many nations and also by many uniformed civilian organizations such as law enforcement agencies...

 is worn by officers on mobile patrol in cars). Its design is based on the Pickelhaube
Pickelhaube
The Pickelhaube , also "Pickelhelm," was a spiked helmet worn in the 19th and 20th centuries by German military, firefighters, and police...

. The vast majority of forces, with the notable exception of the Thames Valley Police
Thames Valley Police
Thames Valley Police, formerly known as Thames Valley Constabulary, is the territorial police force responsible for policing the Thames Valley area covered by the ceremonial counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire....

 presently utilise it as part of the everyday working dress.
Encyclopedia
Custodian helmet or centurion helmet, technically known as a 'Home Office pattern helmet', is a helmet
Helmet
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...

 worn by many policemen
Policing in the United Kingdom
Law enforcement in the United Kingdom is organised separately in each of the legal systems of the United Kingdom: England & Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland ....

 in England and Wales.

History

The custodian helmet is the traditional headgear of the "bobby on the beat", worn by male constable
Constable
A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions.-Etymology:...

s and sergeant
Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

s on foot patrol
Patrol
A patrol is commonly a group of personnel, such as police officers or soldiers, that are assigned to monitor a specific geographic area.- Military :...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 (a peaked cap
Peaked cap
A peaked cap, forage cap, barracks cover, or combination cap is a form of headgear worn by the armed forces of many nations and also by many uniformed civilian organizations such as law enforcement agencies...

 is worn by officers on mobile patrol in cars). Its design is based on the Pickelhaube
Pickelhaube
The Pickelhaube , also "Pickelhelm," was a spiked helmet worn in the 19th and 20th centuries by German military, firefighters, and police...

. The vast majority of forces, with the notable exception of the Thames Valley Police
Thames Valley Police
Thames Valley Police, formerly known as Thames Valley Constabulary, is the territorial police force responsible for policing the Thames Valley area covered by the ceremonial counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire....

 presently utilise it as part of the everyday working dress. The helmet has been retained by most of the forces which have otherwise modernised the uniform. The custodian helmet is also worn by the British Transport Police
British Transport Police
The British Transport Police is a special police force that polices those railways and light-rail systems in Great Britain for which it has entered into an agreement to provide such services...

 and Ministry of Defence Police
Ministry of Defence Police
The Ministry of Defence Police is a civilian police force which is part of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence. The force is part of the larger government agency, the Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency , together with the Ministry of Defence Guard Service...

 (in England and Wales only), the States of Jersey Police
States of Jersey Police
The States of Jersey Police is the professional police service of Jersey. It was established in its current form by the Police Force Law, 1974 and consists of around 240 officers....

, the States of Guernsey Police Service
States of Guernsey Police Service
The States of Guernsey Police Service is the local police force for the Crown dependency of Guernsey. In addition to providing police for the island of Guernsey itself, the Guernsey Police also provides detachments for the islands of Alderney, Herm and Sark...

, the Isle of Man Constabulary
Isle of Man Constabulary
The Isle of Man Constabulary is the organisation responsible for policing the Isle of Man, an island of 80,000 inhabitants situated equidistant from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.-Structures and Deployment:...

, the Royal Gibraltar Police
Royal Gibraltar Police
The Royal Gibraltar Police is, along with the Gibraltar Customs, the principal civilian law enforcement agency in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. It is the oldest Police force in the Commonwealth of Nations outside the United Kingdom....

, and the Bermuda Police. Special Constables formerly did not wear helmets, but most forces in England and Wales now issue them to male specials. The wearing of this style of helmet led Criminal Investigation Department
Criminal Investigation Department
The Crime Investigation Department is the branch of all Territorial police forces within the British Police and many other Commonwealth police forces, to which plain clothes detectives belong. It is thus distinct from the Uniformed Branch and the Special Branch.The Metropolitan Police Service CID,...

 personnel to call their uniformed colleagues "woodentops". The custodian helmet was adopted by the Metropolitan Police
Metropolitan Police Service
The Metropolitan Police Service is the territorial police force responsible for Greater London, excluding the "square mile" of the City of London which is the responsibility of the City of London Police...

 in 1863 to replace the top hat
Top hat
A top hat, beaver hat, high hat silk hat, cylinder hat, chimney pot hat or stove pipe hat is a tall, flat-crowned, broad-brimmed hat, predominantly worn from the latter part of the 18th to the middle of the 20th century...

 formerly worn, and other forces soon followed suit.

Description

The helmet is traditionally made of cork
Cork (material)
Cork is an impermeable, buoyant material, a prime-subset of bark tissue that is harvested for commercial use primarily from Quercus suber , which is endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa...

 covered outside by felt
Felt
Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibres. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any colour, and made into any shape or size....

 or serge
Serge
Serge is a type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down weave. The worsted variety is used in making military uniforms, suits, great coats and trench coats. Its counterpart, silk serge, is used for linings. French serge is a softer, finer variety...

-like material that matches the tunic. Inside, the brim is faced with a plain material and a leather headband adjusts the fit. The top of the helmet may have a comb and crest http://www.constabulary.com/faqs/fig1.jpg, a ball or a simple helmet boss http://www.constabulary.com/faqs/fig3.jpg. Of the 43 Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

 territorial forces in England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

, 21 currently use the comb style, eighteen use the boss style, and four use the ball style. Some forces wore spikes
Pickelhaube
The Pickelhaube , also "Pickelhelm," was a spiked helmet worn in the 19th and 20th centuries by German military, firefighters, and police...

 on top of the helmet, although these have now been phased out.

The helmet is kept on by a thin chinstrap
Chinstrap
The chinstrap beard is a type of facial hair that extends from the hair line of one side of the face to the other, following the jawline, much like the chin curtain; unlike the chin curtain though, it does not cover the entire chin, but only the very edges of the jaw and chin...

, though a more secure fitting was developed to keep the helmet on when it was used in riot control
Riot control
Riot control refers to the measures used by police, military, or other security forces to control, disperse, and arrest civilians who are involved in a riot, demonstration, or protest. Law enforcement officers or soldiers have long used non-lethal weapons such as batons and whips to disperse crowds...

 situations before specialist helmets were adopted. Some helmets have two chinstraps, a single strap for normal use and one with a double strap and chin cup, which can be folded up inside the helmet when not in use, for more strenuous activity. Many officers choose not to use the chin strap.

All forces except the City of London Police
City of London Police
The City of London Police is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement within the City of London, England, including the Middle and Inner Temple. The service responsible for law enforcement within the rest of Greater London is the Metropolitan Police Service, a separate...

, Hampshire Constabulary
Hampshire Constabulary
Hampshire Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for policing Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in southern England.The force area includes the cities of Winchester, Southampton and Portsmouth...

 and West Mercia Constabulary
West Mercia Constabulary
West Mercia Police, formerly known as West Mercia Constabulary, is the territorial police force responsible for policing the counties of Shropshire , Herefordshire and Worcestershire in England. The force area covers making it the fourth largest police area in England and Wales...

 use the Brunswick star
Brunswick star
The Brunswick star is an emblem which in outline is an eight-pointed or sixteen-pointed star, but which is composed of many narrow rays. It is used in Britain to surround the Royal Cypher on various badges, such as that worn on the caps and helmets of almost all police forces...

 as the basis for their helmet plate.

Helmets closely following the British model were widely worn by the police forces of Canada, Australia and New Zealand from the late nineteenth century on. These were eventually discarded as being inconvenient to wear when in vehicles or providing insufficient protection from the sun when on foot patrol. The New Zealand Police
New Zealand Police
The New Zealand Police is the national police force of New Zealand, responsible for enforcing criminal law, enhancing public safety, maintaining order and keeping the peace throughout New Zealand...

 retained a white version until the 1990s. Toronto Police Service
Toronto Police Service
The Toronto Police Service , formerly the Metropolitan Toronto Police, is the police service for the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest municipal police service in Canada and second largest police force in Canada after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police...

 retains the white helmet used by Toronto Police Chief's Ceremonial Unit.

Production

In modern production, hat makers take approximately 30 minutes to complete a single custodian helmet, all of which are made by only four companies: Hobson and Sons (London) Ltd, Christys, of Stockport; Compton Webb (C.W. Headdress Limited), of Oxfordshire; and Helmets Limited, of Wheathampstead.

The initial process begins with the making of the helmet shell using a vacuum forming
Vacuum forming
Vacuum forming, commonly known as vacuuforming, is a simplified version of thermoforming, whereby a sheet of plastic is heated to a forming temperature, stretched onto or into a single-surface mold , and held against the mold by applying vacuum between the mold surface and the sheet.The vacuum...

 machine and a metal mould. A sheet of black fortified plastic is heated and then lowered over the mould, where a vacuum pulls the plastic into shape over the mould. Once hardened instantly, a rubber mallet is used to release the plastic from the mould so that the excess plastic around brim of the helmet can be trimmed with a bandsaw and sanded. The helmet's fabric covers are made out of water-repellent wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

 that are cut in halves and stitched
Stitch (textile arts)
In the textile arts, a stitch is a single turn or loop of thread or yarn. Stitches are the fundamental elements of sewing, knitting, embroidery, crochet, and needle lace-making, whether by hand or machine...

 together to give the helmet a distinctive centred, front-to-back seam
Seam (sewing)
In sewing, a seam is the join where two or more layers of fabric, leather, or other materials are held together with stitches. Prior to the invention of the sewing machine, all sewing was done by hand...

. Moving down the line of production, glue is applied to both the inside of the fabric cover and the outside surface of the helmet shell, the fabric cover is then steamed and stretched tightly over the shell to prevent buckling
Buckling
In science, buckling is a mathematical instability, leading to a failure mode.Theoretically, buckling is caused by a bifurcation in the solution to the equations of static equilibrium...

. A wooden tool is carefully used to smooth away any air bubbles as well as to ensure the fabric cover is in full contact with the helmet shell; excess fabric is cut away.

Now halfway through production, the helmet is left to dry for several minutes. Once it is dry, black rubber piping
Piping (sewing)
In sewing, piping is a type of trim or embellishment consisting of a strip of folded fabric inserted into a seam to define the edges or style lines of a garment or other textile object. Usually the fabric strip is cut on the bias, and often it is folded over a cord...

 is sewn around the brim of the helmet to reinforce it and give it a neater edge. For boss and ball helmet styles, the metal fastening prongs of the chrome
Chrome plating
Chrome plating, often referred to simply as chrome, is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto a metal object. The chromed layer can be decorative, provide corrosion resistance, ease cleaning procedures, or increase surface hardness.-Process:A component to be chrome plated will...

 fixtures are dipped in chalk to mark their positions on the crown of the helmet; holes are then drilled and the fixture is secured. For comb-style helmets, the crest, which has vent holes incorporated into the design, is simply glued into place at the top end of the comb. For all helmet styles, two vent holes are punched
Punch (tool)
A punch is a hard metal rod with a shaped tip at one end and a blunt butt end at the other, which is usually struck by a hammer. Punches are used to drive objects, such as nails, or to form an impression of the tip on a workpiece...

 on both sides of the helmet and fitted with black metal grommet
Grommet
thumb|right|250px|Some rubber grommets.A grommet is a ring inserted into a hole through thin material, such as fabric. Grommets are generally flared or collared on each side to keep them in place, and are often made of metal, plastic, or rubber. They may be used to prevent tearing or abrasion of...

s, making a total of four vent holes.

The adjustable head harness is made out of strips of fabric tape and foam stitched onto a plastic headband
Headband
A headband is a clothing accessory worn in the hair or around the forehead, usually to hold hair away from the face or eyes. Headbands generally consist of a loop of elastic material or a horseshoe-shaped piece of flexible plastic or metal...

; this is then inverted so that a modern-pattern chin-strap
Strap
A strap, sometimes also called strop, is an elongated flap or ribbon, usually of fabric or leather.Thin straps are used as part of clothing or baggage, or bedding such as a sleeping bag. See for example spaghetti strap, shoulder strap...

 assembly and traditional leather chin-strip can be stitched on as well. The harness assembly is lowered into the helmet and secured with an industrial stapler
Stapler
A stapler is a mechanical device that joins sheets of paper or similar material by driving a thin metal staple through the sheets and folding the ends. Staplers are widely used in government, business, offices, and schools....

. Depending on the helmet style, a broad plastic band http://www.constabulary.com/faqs/fig8.jpg, narrow black metal band http://www.constabulary.com/faqs/fig9.jpg, narrow chrome metal band http://www.constabulary.com/faqs/fig10.jpg, or broad chrome metal band http://www.constabulary.com/faqs/fig11.jpg is wrapped around the helmet and pinned down, concealing the staples
Staple (fastener)
A staple is a type of two-pronged fastener, usually metal, used for joining or binding materials together. Large staples might be used with a hammer or staple gun for masonry, roofing, corrugated boxes and other heavy-duty uses...

. For additional protection, a sponge liner is tucked in to the helmet.

Near the end of production, a hole is drilled on the front end of the helmet and an appropriate police helmet plate is screwed on. The helmet then is sized, cleaned, and inspected. At last, the helmet is label
Label
A label is a piece of paper, polymer, cloth, metal, or other material affixed to a container or article, on which is printed a legend, information concerning the product, addresses, etc. A label may also be printed directly on the container or article....

led and given a good brush to bring up the pile
Pile (textile)
In textiles, pile is the raised surface or nap of a fabric, which is made of upright loops or strands of yarn. Examples of pile textiles are carpets, corduroy, velvet, plush, and Turkish towels.. The word is derived from Latin pilus for "hair"...

. It is then now finally ready to be shipped on to an awaiting police force.

Use outside the Commonwealth

Some Italian municipal police forces use a white custodian helmet, particularly when directing traffic.

Until the mid-20th century, custodian helmets were in use with the municipal police forces of several Dutch cities, most notably The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

.

Some early uniforms of the Pennsylvania State Police
Pennsylvania State Police
The Pennsylvania State Police is the state police force of Pennsylvania, responsible for statewide law enforcement. It was founded in 1905 by order of Governor Samuel Pennypacker, in response to the private police forces used by mine and mill owners to stop worker strikes and the inability or...

 incorporated a cloth covered helmet, manufactured in England.

See also

  • Robert Peel
    Robert Peel
    Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 December 1834 to 8 April 1835, and again from 30 August 1841 to 29 June 1846...

  • Police uniforms and equipment in the United Kingdom
  • Pith helmet
    Pith helmet
    The pith helmet is a lightweight cloth-covered helmet made of cork or pith...

  • Firefighter's helmet
  • Peaked cap
    Peaked cap
    A peaked cap, forage cap, barracks cover, or combination cap is a form of headgear worn by the armed forces of many nations and also by many uniformed civilian organizations such as law enforcement agencies...

     - replacement for Custodian and worn by modern police forces
  • Campaign hat
    Campaign hat
    A campaign cover is a broad-brimmed felt or straw hat, with a high crown, pinched symmetrically at the four corners .It is associated with the New Zealand Army, the Royal Canadian...

    - worn by police forces in the US (State Troopers) and Canada (RCMP and OPP)
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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