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‘Thin Blue Line’ badge gets the boot as Montreal police unveil new patch

Click to play video: 'More calls for Montreal police officers to stop wearing thin blue line logo'
More calls for Montreal police officers to stop wearing thin blue line logo
RELATED: There is concern surrounding a controversial patch worn by some Montreal police officers at the anti-mandate protest this past weekend. The SPVM says it's reviewing its uniform policy. But as Olivia O'Malley reports, activists argue the problem is much more complex than banning a patch – Feb 18, 2022

Montreal police officers will no longer be able to wear the controversial Thin Blue Line patch on their uniforms, but the department has created a new symbol to honour law enforcement colleagues killed in the line of duty.

Police Chief Fady Dagher unveiled the changes during a closed-door meeting Tuesday where he discussed updates on the dress code for the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, or SPVM.

“It was also important to remind police officers, through this modernized procedure, that their duty of impartiality in interventions must also be reflected in their clothing and physical appearance, that they must not display bias for a cause more than another,” the police department said in statement.

“The SPVM thus makes its uniform neutral, out of respect for all the populations it serves.”

The Thin Blue Line patch is usually a black-and-white Canadian flag with a blue line through the middle. While some police officers and supporters see it as solidarity in law enforcement, it has also been adopted in recent years by far-right groups.

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A thin blue line patch showing a Canadian flag with a blue stripe through it. Global News

Critics across North America also argue the symbol creates a divisive us-versus-them mentality, and doesn’t help strengthen ties between police and the communities they are meant to serve.

Montreal police first came under fire after officers on the job were seen wearing the badge on the job in 2022. At the time, the department confirmed the uniform — including all insignia — was under review.

During the meeting Tuesday, the police chief unveiled a new symbol specific to the force to honour “their sisters and brothers who died in the line of duty.” It features the SPVM coat of arms and a slogan that roughly translates to “fallen but never forgotten.”

Montreal police unveiled a new symbol that officers can wear to honour their fallen colleagues. It’s meant to replace the Thin Blue Line patch.
Montreal police unveiled a new symbol that officers can wear to honour their fallen colleagues. It’s meant to replace the Thin Blue Line patch. Montreal police

Montreal police say the internal policies for uniforms and dress code was last updated in 2005. The new rules will come into effect after the summer season.

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The department also said it was important to announce the changes to the public and future police officers “so that they can see the organization’s desire to move forward and be more inclusive, particularly in the standards of physical appearances which become the same for both men and women.”

The change comes as many police forces across Canada that have banned members from wearing the Thin Blue Line while on duty. The RCMP directed officers to stop wearing it in 2020, and it has been banned for Ottawa police since February 2021.

— with files from Global’s Alessia Simona Maratta and The Canadian Press

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