Khaki is so last year...

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Indy Lifestyle Online

An Indian police force has drafted in one of the country's top fashion designers to overhaul its distinctive khaki uniforms, a report said Friday.

The police in the western state of Maharashtra have called on the services of Manish Malhotra, who made his name dressing leading Bollywood actresses, to give their officers a smart new look, the Daily News and Analysis paper said.

The daily reported that Malhotra had shown four to five new designs in blue and dark blue to senior police officers in the state capital, Mumbai, and that a final choice was being considered.

"Manish has been working on this project for four months. The Mumbai police is looking for a chic uniform and they feel Malhotra is the right man for them," an unnamed "industry insider" was quoted as saying.

Senior officer Subash Awte added: "We have not yet finalised anything. We are trying to see how the new uniform would make the police smarter. It should be practical for operational purposes and convenient."

Khaki uniforms were first introduced in the 19th century under British rule.

The change, if approved, comes as part of an overhaul of police in Mumbai in the wake of the deadly 2008 Islamist militant attacks on the city when the force was found to be lacking training, equipment and manpower.

Security experts have said that urgent investment was needed to boost police numbers across India, with many areas understaffed, particularly of experienced senior officers.

In Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, there are some 48,000 officers for an official population of about 14 million - or one officer per 291 people.

Maharashtra Police has just over 163,000 officers for a total population of 96.8 million people - or one police officer per 590 people.

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