Police Scotland has announced that the hijab will become part of its official uniform as it aims to create a more diverse force.
The force hopes the move will “encourage women from Muslim communities, who may previously not have seen policing as a career option, to reconsider”.
Police Scotland’s previous policy on the hijab was to only allow it to be worn when approved by senior staff members.
The move comes 15 years after The Metropolitan Police introduced the hijab as an optional part of their uniform in order to recruit a more diverse mix of officers.
In a statement, chief constable Phil Gormley of Police Scotland said: “I am delighted to make this announcement and welcome the support from both the Muslim community, and the wider community, as well as police officers and staff.
“Like many other employers, especially in the public sector, we are working towards ensuring our service is representative of the communities we serve. I hope that this addition to our uniform options will contribute to making our staff mix more diverse and adds to the life skills, experiences and personal qualities that our officers and staff bring to policing the communities of Scotland.”
Welcoming the announcement, Fahad Bashir, chair of the Scottish Police Muslim Association (SPMA), a group that aims to build links between Muslim communities in Scotland and the police, said: “This is a positive step in the right direction, and I am delighted that Police Scotland is taking productive steps in order to ensure that our organisation is seen to be inclusive and represents the diverse communities that we serve across Scotland”.
Police Scotland aim to have at least 4 per cent of the force made up of BME recruits. Earlier this year figures showed only 2.6% of applicants were from ethnic minority backgrounds.
There are 77,000 Muslims living in Scotland, a country with a total population of 5 million.