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Mother and daughter to be first to wear Police Scotland ‘hijab’ uniform

Mother and daughter to be first to wear Police Scotland ‘hijab’ uniform

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday January 24 2017

The Herald Scotland and the Evening Times both report on the Muslim mother and daughter who will become the first hijab wearing police officers in Scotland once they complete their training. 

Shafqat and Aleena Rafi, of Clydebank, are set to become the first officers in Scotland – special or regular – to wear the hijab as part of their officer uniform once they complete the recruitment process.

Miss Rafi, 19, said that seeing police officers in headscarves will help to “break down the barriers”.

Her mother Mrs Rafi, 50, said Police Scotland had been very supportive of their application to join. “Sometimes people just see the hijab and not what is underneath,” she said.

“Our religion teaches us to help each other. Islam means peace,” she added.

Police Scotland confirmed in August 2016 that headscarves would become an optional part of officers’ uniform in an bid to remove “unnecessary obstacles” hindering under-represented groups from considering policing as a career.

The force established a ‘Positive Action Team’ as part of its recruitment process in a effort to attract more people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Other police forces such as West Yorkshire PoliceNorthamptonshire Police and the Metropolitan Police have also introduced Positive Action Co-ordinators or new recruitment strategies in order to increase levels of BME police officers and make forces more representative of the local communities in which they serve.

Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Philip Gormley, admitted that the force needed to improve diversity within its ranks in order to better represent the local community. Currently only one per cent of officers in Scotland are from an ethnic minority background compared to four percent of the population as a whole – with the BME population rising to 12 per cent in Glasgow.

The low representation of ethnic minorities in the police is not unique to Scotland. The Guardian’s analysis of official figures from 2015 found that “none of the 43 police forces in England and Wales accurately reflected the ethnic makeup of its local population”, with four forces not employing a single black officer. The latest figures for March 2016 show that 5.9% of officers in England and Wales are from ethnic minority backgrounds, considerably lower than the overall BME population in England and Wales, which stands at 14%.

As highlighted in our manifesto for Police and Crime Commissioner elections held in May 2016, low recruitment and retention of BME police officers within England and Wales is a pressing concern. The concerted efforts being made to increase diversity in policing, either through the extension of existing mentoring programmes, evaluating ‘unconscious bias’methods and other Positive Action initiatives are greatly welcomed.

The Government’s BME2020 strategy aims to increase access to employment and education for BME communities as well as advance their representation in sectors such as the police, armed forces and apprenticeships in an effort to improve equality of opportunity and enhance workplace diversity. 


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