West Yorkshire Police have moved towards adopting an Islamic “modesty culture”, trialling a new loose fitting and lower hanging tunic “designed not to show the female form”.
The new Islamic-style uniforms have reportedly been welcomed by the local community in Bradford and a number of Muslim groups in the area.
Police say the garment is part of an effort to recruit more black and minority ethnic (BAME) officers.
Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams told Breitbart London is a statement: “West Yorkshire Police is working extremely hard to ensure that we are representative of the communities we serve.
“We know that we need to do more to increase the proportion of police officers from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) in the Force and there’s still more that we can do.
“We have Positive Action Ambassadors and Community Engagement Officers actively working to improve BAME representation.
“For the last month we have been trialling a new uniform for women which is designed not to show the female form. This was suggested by a Muslim female officer and was designed by our Clothing Manager in conjunction with the officer.
“The tunic is a looser and longer fit, and has full sleeves. This has been well-received from officers in the Force and we have now made further supplies of this uniform for other officers to trial it if they wish.
“PC Firzana Ahmed [Pictured above, centre right], who works in Bradford, has been trialling it and has had some really positive feedback from the local community.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 9, 2016
She added: “I hope this uniform will encourage people from underrepresented groups to consider a career in policing if they had previously been put off joining the force due to the uniform.
“We are open to suggestions from all communities on how our uniform can be styled to better suit their needs.”
According to the 2011 census, the city of Bradford was almost 27 percent Asian or Asian British and has one of the largest Muslim communities in the UK, making up nearly a quarter of the population.
Officers said they are seeking to address concerns about BAME women in the force after questions about alleged “bias” at a public crime panel, the Yorkshire Post reports.
Chief Constable Dee Collins said that, for some women, concerns about the existing uniform’s design could be putting them off.
She also revealed they were developing mentoring programmes to help people from BAME backgrounds to complete application forms, insisting they often go on to do well in interviews.
“Is it a confidence issue? Is it a trust issue? Possibly around things as simple as uniform,” she said.
Ms Collins said officers had met with the Muslim Women’s Council in Bradford and “showed them a redesign of the uniform”.
“We are absolutely all over this. I am absolutely determined we will continue to improve these figures. We need to, we absolutely need to,” she added.
Many UK police forces, including London’s Metropolitan Police Service, have allowed Muslim women to wear a headscarf as part of their uniform for many years and the West Midlands force has even considered allowing full-face veils.