Note from Rafik Beekun: British Police should be praised for incorporating the hijab into their uniform. It is noteworthy that while some “Muslim” countries are often resistant to giving women their rights, Britain in this case is one step ahead of them.
Saturday, January 31, 2009,
Police have opened the door to female Muslim recruits by incorporating the hijab into the uniform. The force has become the latest to approve a design for a headscarf suitable for officers on patrol.Senior officers believe the lack of the option has deterred applications from the considerable number of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab.
The police hijab is plain black and made of a flame-retardant material.
Officers will be able to wear a standard police hat on top of it.
A small number of forces nationwide have taken a similar step, including Thames Valley and the Metropolitan police. Superintendent Geoff Feavyour, who leads the Leicestershire Constabulary recruitment team, compared the development to the incorporation of the turban several years ago, which removed a barrier to the recruitment of male Sikhs.
The police’s annual report for 2007/08 showed women made up about 23 per cent of the force’s officers. The number of officers from black and Asian communities stood at about six per cent – short of the 15 per cent target.
Mr Feavyour said: “Clearly, we want people from all walks of life to join the force and the fact we have the hijab available now shows our commitment to that. It’s an extension to our uniform which will, hopefully, show people they are welcome. “It is very important to us that the force reflects the community it serves.”