Police May Let Muslims Wear Burka as Uniform in Effort to Boost Diversity

Catherine Reid, Mirror, September 9, 2016

Police have said they may let Muslim officers wear the Burka as they seek to boost diversity in the force.

Senior officers at West Midlands Police revealed they would discuss allowing the traditional Islamic dress to become part of Muslim female officers’ uniform at a recent meeting.

Chief Constable, David Thompson, said he would look into employing officers who wear the burka as he looks to increase black and minority ethnic (BME) officers in the region to 30 per cent.

Speaking after the meeting last Thursday, the senior officer said: “We would need to consider our own rules and cultural sensitivity.

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“As it stands we have not had any approaches from potential recruits asking to wear the burka, but if such an approach was made it is something we would have to consider.”

The force has already approved hijab-wearing officers and currently allows Sikhs to replace their helmet with a turban.

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The Metropolitan Police introduced it a decade ago and the hijab is now successfully integrated into several forces across the UK – most recently in Scotland.

Currently no serving officers wear the burka – a dress that covers the entirety of a woman’s face and body, leaving just the eyes visible – but it is hoped the move would encourage more BME recruits.

West Midlands Police are currently trying to increase BME staff from just nine per cent to 30 per cent.

The force announced its latest recruitment drive last week, and so far more than 6,000 people have applied for just 1,100 positions.

 

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