Police Scotland have said they will do “anything” to be more “diverse” and will be introducing a special hijab to encourage more female Muslims to join the force.
The Scottish Police authority released a detailed report on how they are working “to achieve a workforce that is more representative of our society,” and encourage “people from under-represented groups to consider policing as a career.”
The report is critical of the fact that 2.6 per cent of Scottish officers are non-white British, as the percentage of Scots from non-white backgrounds has recently doubled to 4 per cent, up from 2 per cent in 2001.
Therefore, “…in an effort to attract more Muslim women into policing a sample hijab has been sourced and tested” the report states.
Police Scotland are far from leading the way, however, as London’s Metropolitan Police approved a uniform hijab more than 10 years ago (pictured).
“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,” Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, told The Scotsman.
Police Scotland put a questionnaire to the Scottish Police Muslim Association (SPMA) to find way of accommodating Islamic needs and values into the force.
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 organisation be seen to be inclusive.”
“From SPMA’s point of view, we’re fully supportive. Under-representation is an issue Police Scotland is trying to address. I couldn’t give you a definitive answer as to why it’s an issue.
“It’s not just the Muslim community, but in different communities across Scotland there will be cultural barriers to joining certain organisations. But we’re looking to see how we can break down those barriers.”
The Liberal Democrats recently described the representation of non-white and Muslim people in the police as “appalling”, and said it was time for immediate action.
It followed a submission to the Scottish Parliament’s equal opportunities committee from the SPF, a staff association, which said Police Scotland was merely paying “lip service” to the issue of ethnic minority recruitment.