Police Scotland is set to introduce a hijab as part of its uniform to encourage more Muslim women into the force and address the under-representation of officers from ethnic minority backgrounds.
AhlulBayt News Agency - Police Scotland is set to introduce a hijab as part of its uniform to encourage more Muslim women into the force and address the under-representation of officers from ethnic minority backgrounds.
In a briefing to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), Police Scotland said it would need to recruit an additional 650 ethnic minority candidates to reflect the 4 per cent of those from black and Asian backgrounds in society as a whole, something it described as currently “unachievable”.
In a bid to increase female Muslim officers, a headscarf has been “sourced and tested” and will be presented to a uniform standards working group for consideration.
The hijab is a headscarf which covers the head and neck, but not the face.
While there is no ban on female officers wearing headscarves, those wanting to do so must get permission from their line manager.
It is understood no such authorization will be required for those wanting to wear the new standard issue hijab.
Peter Blair, head of resource management at the force, said: “Police Scotland is committed to working with communities to encourage under-represented groups to consider policing as a career.
“Part of this involves removing unnecessary barriers, which include considerations about the officers’ uniform. As a result, work has been undertaken to source a uniform hijab. Such a hijab is worn by many officers in police forces in England and across the world and Police Scotland is keen to replicate this good practice.”
It has used outreach events and worked on a questionnaire with the Scottish Police Muslim Association (SPMA) to gauge perceptions and concerns about policing.
Fahad Bashir, chair of the SPMA, said the creation of a Police Scotland hijab was a “step in the right direction”.
He said: “It’s not just about the hijab, but any religious headwear. It’s a productive thing on behalf of Police Scotland to make the organization be seen to be inclusive.
“From SPMA’s point of view, we’re fully supportive.
Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, added: “Anything that can help increase diversity within the service is surely to be welcomed and I don’t see why anyone would have any problem with that.”