Scottish police become latest in Britain to allow hijab


LONDON: Scotland’s police this week became the latest force in Britain to allow the hijab as an optional part of the uniform in an effort to encourage more ethnic minority recruits.
London’s Metropolitan Police gave Muslim women on duty the option of wearing the hijab in 2001.
A string of other British forces — including in central and northern England where there are large Muslim communities — also allow the headscarf.
“Like many other employers, especially in the public sector, we are working towards ensuring our service is representative of the communities we serve,” Police Scotland chief Phil Gormley said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I hope that this addition to our uniform options will contribute to making our staff mix more diverse,” he added.
Scottish police this year said only 127 of the 4,809 applications to join the force — 2.6 percent — were from people with ethnic minority backgrounds.
Ethnic minorities, mainly originating from south Asia, account for around four percent of Scotland’s population as a whole.
The Scottish Police Muslim Association welcomed the announcement, saying it “will encourage more females from Muslim and ethnic minority backgrounds to join Police Scotland”.