Irish police allow turbans and hijab in uniform to promote diversity

Turbans and the hijab will be allowed to be worn by Sikh and Muslim members of the Gardaí (Irish police) under new rules announced by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

The incorporation of certain items of clothing relating to religious groups is being aimed at driving the recruitment of ethnic minorities to the police force.

Under the rule changes, members of the Sikh religion will be permitted to wear turbans and Muslim women will be allowed to wear a partial hijab or headscarf, according to the Irish Times.

A NYPD traffic officer wearing a traditional turban directing traffic Late in the day on 7th ave in Times Square. In 2016, the NYPD began allowing Sikh officers to wear traditional turbans and have beards up to a half inch long. Image: Getty

Alterations to the Garda uniform code were announced as the force opened a recruitment competition for new trainees.

The burka and the niqab, which are worn by some Muslim women and cover up much more of the body and face, will continue to be prohibited while on duty.

There are 14,161 current members of Ireland’s police force, with a government commitment to grow this figure to 15,000 by 2021.

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“We need to become a much more diverse organization so that we properly reflect the society we serve. That is why our campaign is focusing on people who might not have previously considered a career as a Garda member. They have the skills we need for a policing role, but they might not have thought they could transfer those to being a Garda,” he said.

“Fundamentally, we are looking for people who thrive on keeping people safe.”

Garda Passing Out Parade Templemore. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at a Garda passing out parade at Templemore Garda Training College in County Tipperary. Image:

“Policing is a highly rewarding career where every day you can make a difference to the lives of individuals and communities. We want to encourage people from all walks of life to join us. We are looking for diversity not only in background, but also in skills.”

Just 0.4 percent of Gardaí, or one in 240, come from an ethnic minority.

The Irish population is made up of 82.2 percent “white Irish” with the remainder coming from various ethnic minorities, according to the most recent census.

There are about 100 Gardaí and reserve Gardaí from non-Irish backgrounds.

The two non-Irish nationalities with the highest Garda representation are Chinese and Polish. It is not known how many Gardaí, if any, are Muslim or Sikh.

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Written by Adeel Malik

Born in Hong Kong, grew up in Scotland and ethnically Pakistani, Adeel primes himself to be a multicultural individual who is an advent social media user for the purpose of learning and propagating Islam while is also a sports fan. Being an English teacher himself, he envisions a bright future for Muslims which he strongly believes can only be done with education.

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