A Muslim policewoman has become the first frontline, operational officer who wears a hijab on the Leicestershire Police Force.
Khadeejah Mansur, 21, joined the force as a student officer in October 2020, and is trialling a new hijab based on a design from new Zealand.
“My mum was a big push in applying for it but I also wanted to represent our diverse communities, especially here in Leicester,” she told LeicestershireLive. “I had no idea that I was the first until somebody told me. It was a proud moment for me. I did feel a tiny bit of pressure but mostly, it was quite empowering.”
A suitable hijab for officers in Leicester had been previously looked into with several failed attempts before this trial.
The design from New Zealand was rolled out in the country last year after 16 months of research and development into the fabric and fit.
The hijab was designed specifically to sit comfortably with headgear worn by police such as caps or earpieces.
Safety was also considered in the design which has magnetic fastenings that release easily if grabbed.
As the only hijab-wearing member of her cohort, Khadeejah said she has received an outpouring of support and respect from her colleagues as well as from proud family members.
She told Leicestershire Live: “This isn’t just important for me, but for other Muslim women joining the force. Because I’m young, female and also wearing a hijab, people are surprised because it doesn’t quite fit the stereotype. But people will see me and other officers and they will relate to us and we can build that rapport with them.”
She added: “Once fellow Muslim females see me as a frontline hijab-wearing officer I hope it will inspire them to look at a career in policing as there are no restrictions or setbacks.”
If the trial is successful, the hijab could be rolled out officially within Leicestershire Police.