BEAT bobbies in Southamp-ton are going undercover for visits to the city's Sikh temples.

Community beat officers based at Southampton Central police station have been issued with stylish new constabulary headscarves to wear when visiting Gurdwaras.

The navy blue scarves, bearing the Hampshire Constabulary crest in white, were the brainchild of Sgt Dick Partridge, who heads the team of community beat officers based at Southampton Central.

Sgt Partridge said the smart new scarves had many benefits, not least for hygiene reasons.

"In the Sikh religion, it is the custom to have your head covered," he explained.

"Until now, officers have usually kept on their hats or worn a baseball cap, but I don't think that looks respectful."

Every city centre beat officer has been issued with a scarf, which can be worn bandanna-style around the head.

Each of Southampton's three inner-city Gurdwaras has also been given six scarves to put in the headscarf boxes they keep for visitors to use.

Sgt Partridge added: "We hope this will also have other benefits.

"Not only does it promote a positive image of the police, but it raises the visibility of the constabulary at the Gurdwara when we are not there."