The hijab has been made a part of the official Police Scotland uniform
In 2015/16, just 2.6 per cent of the force were from ethnic backgrounds
The force has made the decision to encourage Muslim women to join
The hijab (pictured, stock photo) is now formally a part of Police Scotland's uniform
Police Scotland has made the hijab part of their official uniform to try and encourage Muslim women to join the force.
In the past, officers were only allowed to wear the religious headscarf once it was approved by senior staff members.
But it is now formally part of the force's uniform and Police Scotland is trying to make themselves more 'representative' of the communities they serve.
The formal announcement was welcomed by the Scottish Police Muslim Association (SPMA), an organisation set up in 2010 to build closer ties with Muslim communities.
Chief Constable Phil Gormley 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.'
A report to the Scottish Police Authority earlier this year showed there were 4,809 applications to join Police Scotland in 2015/16, of which 127 (2.6 per cent) were from ethnic backgrounds.
It read: 'Based on these figures, it is clear to see that challenge Police Scotland faces.
'If the black and minority ethnic groups (BME) national average of 4 per cent is to be met within the organisation, an additional 650 BME recruits are required across all areas of the business.
The Metropolitan Police in London approved the hijab as part of its uniform more than a decade ago
'Considering current application trends, this would appear to be unachievable.'
The Metropolitan Police in London approved the hijab as part of its uniform more than a decade ago.
Fahad Bashir, SPMA chair, said: 'This is a positive step in the right direction.
'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.
'No doubt this will encourage more women from Muslim and minority ethnic backgrounds to join Police Scotland.'