Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Writing about berets, it is hard to avoid the military completely (although I do my best) - they really are the wholesale users of berets, after all, and there are some interesting facts, anecdotes and histories associated with the military beret.
There is another group of large scale users: the Police, in some countries at least. In shape and size their berets are generally similar to the military beret (without a 'nip' or 'txortena'), leather rim, air vents, etc and, in me at least, they often evoke negative connotations with hardline and heavy-handed policing. Not fair maybe, and I am sure one can find very friendly and pleasant police officers under a beret (where I grew up, the police had these slogans: "This cap fits all of us" ["die pet past ons allemaal"] and "The police is your best friend"). Surely they didn't mean the Marechaussee, the Dutch Military Police, who caused me lots of trouble and misery as a drafted soldier some 30 years ago...
A nice variety is the beret that is used by the Catalan (Spanish) police, a distinct and colourful affair.
No surprise to find many different berets within the Spanish police. Even the Guardia Civil wears them, as an alternative to the tricornio, the symbol of this (once) much hated police force.
Then there is the Policia Foral, in the Navarre autonomous community in Spain, who wear a nicely embroidered red beret.
And then, there are the berets of the Spanish National Police, the German, Austrian and Israeli police, to show just a few.