ROME — When Inspector Luca Sita picked up two new N95 masks at his police station in Ferrara in central Italy on Thursday, he was thrown for a loop: One masks was white, and the opposite was pink.
Mr. Sita works in plainclothes, so he was extra perplexed than vexed, however he instantly considered his colleagues working the streets and in squad automobiles who needed to intervene in numerous conditions, together with making arrests.
“Institutionally,” he mentioned, carrying a pink masks “is a nasty look.”
The pink in itself was not offensive, he mentioned: A masks of any coloration apart from white, black or blue, which match the nationwide police uniform, would have been simply as unacceptable.
“Inexperienced, orange — any vigorous coloration would have been unwearable,” he mentioned.
The Sindacato Autonomo di Polizia, a commerce union, instantly fired off a missive to Lamberto Giannini, Italy’s police chief, expressing “perplexity” that pink N95 masks had been despatched to some police stations in numerous areas.
The letter cited a 2019 memo from the police chief of the time that exhorted officers to “keep away from carrying noncompliant clothes that might prejudice the decorum of the establishment.”
The police “should give the looks of authority and effectivity, which is why we thought it opportune to boost the query,” Stefano Paoloni, the union’s secretary-general, mentioned in a phone interview.
“It’s not a prejudice in opposition to the colour,” he added, however relatively a query of decorum.
Italians took to social media to joke about Pink Panthers, reward horses and fragile masculinity.
It remained unclear on Friday the place the masks had come from. The Inside Ministry, which oversees the state police, declined to remark.
The workplace of the commissioner for the coronavirus emergency, which provides and distributes medical and private safety units, declined to remark.
“I hope that after we raised our considerations there can be an try to distribute extra sober colours,” Mr. Paoloni mentioned.
Teresa Bellanova, the deputy infrastructure minister, mentioned on Twitter that she noticed nothing unsuitable with having officers carrying coloured masks. “The respect for uniforms shouldn’t be given by colours,” she mentioned, “however by how the women and men who put on these uniforms behave and work.”