Italian police officers up in arms about pink Covid masks on duty

Italian police officers have lashed out after being sent pink Covid masks to wear while on duty. Police units in six cities were sent the FFP2 masks from the office of Italy’s COvid-19 emergency commissioner, Francesco Paolo Figiuolo but after opening the boxes, many of the officers refused to wear the items. The masks were sent to police units in Bologna, Pavia, Varese, Ferrara, Venice and Syracuse.
This prompted the chief of a police union, Stefano Paolini, to write a letter to the head of police at the interior ministry, Lamberto Giannini. Paolini wrote that the decision to approve the purchase of pink masks for the police force was puzzling. He claimed the colour was “eccentric” in respect to police uniforms and risked jeopardising the image of the institution.
“We ask you to take immediate action to ensure that the police carry out their duty wearing masks of a colour (white, blue or black) which is consistent with the uniform of the state police,” he wrote. 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”, reports The Guardian.
“On the basis of the oath made, the uniform must be worn with decorum,” he added while stressing that “during a period of rising aversion towards the police, it’s necessary to adopt sobriety and respect”.
The pink Covid masks were sent out to various other public institutions, including schools, hospitals and the civil protection office. It comes after Italy reintroduced the requirement for face masks to be worn outside again amid the Omicron variant and the rise of cases it caused.

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Claire Gordon