New Zealand Police have introduced a hijab to their official uniform for the first time.
This will allow female Muslim officers the chance to honour their faith that is in keeping with the standards set by the official uniform.
The force has been working with different materials and styles to create the perfect religious headdress that is easy to put on and won’t get in the way of their duties. It’s worth mentioning that the hijab addition will not be standard issue for all officers, only the ones who are of Muslim faith.
NZ Police said in a statement: “We recognise the value different perspectives and experiences bring to making us better at what we do.
“We need people with a range of skills, backgrounds and experience levels – diversity is essential so that we can effectively serve the needs of New Zealand’s communities now and in the future.
“By reflecting the communities we serve and appreciating different thinking, we aim to achieve better problem-solving and results.”
There will be 76 new police officers graduating from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. A little more than half of the graduates are women.
Constable Zeena Ali is one of them and she was able to trial several of the hijabs and make recommendations before the final design was signed off.
She joined the force following last year’s devastating Christchurch terror attack and wanted to help her fellow Muslim community. Constable Ali is excited at the idea of being able to wear a hijab while doing her job.
“I think that seeing it, more Muslim women will want to join as well,” she told the New Zealand Herald.
“The Police went out of their way to make sure the hijab I have on meets health and safety requirements as well as my own personal needs.
“They worked closely with the Massey Design School, they came and visited me and we made tweaks to the hijab. I am proud to wear it and I hope other people out there will be proud of me as well.”
The class graduating today is not only diverse in gender, but also ethnicity. Nearly 49 per cent of the officers were from backgrounds other than European, with MÄori officers making up an impressive 25 per cent of the wing.
Constable Ali hopes this tiny integration into the uniform will send a message.
“We need more Muslim women to help in the community, most of them are too scared to talk to the police and would probably shut the front door if a man turned up to talk to them,” she said.
“If we have more women turning up, a more diverse front line, then we can reduce more crime.”
New Zealand Police introduced a turban into the official uniform in 2008.
Source: New Zealand Herald
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