- West Midlands Police has said it will discuss allowing burkas to be worn
- It is trying to increase the number of black and minority ethnic officers
- The burka is a traditional Islamic dress which covers the face and body
West Midlands Police will discuss allowing the burka (stock photo) - which covers the entirety of a woman's face and body - to become part of the uniform
One of the largest police force's in the UK was today mocked after saying it would consider letting Muslim officers wear burkas in an attempt to boost diversity.
West Midlands Police said it will discuss allowing the traditional Islamic dress - which covers the entirety of a woman's face and body - to become part of Muslim female officers' uniform.
At a recent meeting, Chief Constable David Thompson, said he would consider employing staff who wear a burka as he looks to increase black and minority ethnic (BME) officers in the region to 30 per cent.
But today, even the Muslim Council of Britain said they would be against female officers wearing full-face burkas or niqabs.
The organisation said they would find it 'very surprising' if the force allowed full-face coverings to be used.
A spokesman said: 'In the media the term burka is used to describe the full face covering but the veil with the slit for the eyes is actually the niqab.
'The burka is actually the full gown which goes from shoulder to ankle with the face remaining clear.
'It would be very surprising if West Midlands Police were in favour of full-face coverings.
'The actual percentage of women wearing a niqab is very, very small and the women who do would probably not want to be in the police.'
And a source at West Midlands Police even criticised the idea of female officers wearing full-face veils, adding it would be 'mad'.
At a recent meeting, Chief Constable David Thompson (pictured), said he would consider making the burka part of the uniform
They said: 'Apart from anything else there is the health and safety issue.
'How could you possibly have an officer pursuing a suspect down the street while wearing a burka over their face? It is frankly a mad idea.
'I think the Chief Constable was probably trying to be politically correct because if he'd said outright no to burkas then he would have come in for some stick as well.'
West Midlands Police has already approved hijab-wearing officers and currently allows Sikhs to replace their helmet with a turban.
The hijab - a headscarf covering the head and neck but leaving the face clear - was approved after being requested by a number of Muslim women.
The Metropolitan Police introduced it a decade ago and the hijab is now successfully integrated into several forces across the UK - most recently in Scotland.
Currently no serving officers wear the burka - which leaves the eyes barely visible - but it is hoped the move would encourage more BME recruits.
Speaking after a meeting last Thursday, Chief Constable Thompson said: 'We would need to consider our own rules and cultural sensitivity.
'Clearly we don't have any barriers relating to the burka.
'As it stands we have not had any approaches from potential recruits asking to wear the burka, but if such an approach was made it is something we would have to consider.'
The Metropolitan Police began letting police officers wear hijabs a decade ago and it is now successfully integrated into several forces across the UK
West Midlands Police is currently trying to increase BME staff from just nine per cent to 30 per cent.
The force announced its latest recruitment drive last week, and so far more than 6,000 people have applied for just 1,100 positions.
Sales manager Neil Dixon, 34, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, said the move would be 'political correctness gone way too far'.
He said: 'The idea of police officers walking around in burkas is so wrong, it would be political correctness gone way too far.
'Good policing is all about building trust and facial expressions forms a huge part of that.'
FROM THE HIJAB TO BURKA: A GUIDE TO MUSLIM HEADWEAR
Meanwhile, opinion was split between politicians and the Police Federation over whether the burka or niqab was suitable for female officers to wear.
Labour councillor Diane Donaldson, who represents the Hodge Hill ward in Birmingham, said: 'I am in favour of allowing women to wear their burkas during service.
'It's not going to stop them carrying out their job properly.'
Labour councillor Sybil Spence, who represents the Soho ward, said: 'When it comes to dressing, it's about feeling comfortable.
'It won't hinder women from doing their proper job.
'As long as they are well-trained and they're doing their job and you can see their faces, then that's all that matters. '
Che Donald, diversity spokesman for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: 'Forces need to be representative of the communities they serve, so there is flexibility in making adjustments to reflect officers' beliefs..
'For example, women in some forces can wear a hijab, and male Sikhs can also wear a turban.
'That said practical considerations also need to be taken into account.
'Any piece of uniform must be fit for purpose and not obstruct or hinder an officer in carrying out their normal duties and any changes need to also be examined for Health and Safety considerations.
'However, ultimately the decision about uniform choices is up to individual forces.'
Last year, a burka-clad gang, who carried out a £1.5million heist at Selfridges in London (pictured) was jailed for a total of 64 years
In 2015, a burka-clad gang, who carried out a £1.5million heist at Selfridges in London along with nine other high-profile raids, was jailed for a total of 64 years.
The gang was responsible for a total of 10 raids, including a high-profile break-in at the world famous Oxford Street store in June 2013.
They forced their way into the store while wearing burkas and threatened terrified staff and customers while they smashed display cabinets.
The gang was led by the nephew of Birds of A Feather star Linda Robson.
Reece Dunford, 31, whose aunt is most famous for playing Tracey Stubbs in the hit TV sitcom, orchestrated £3m worth of daring heists across plush London stores.
A niqab (pictured) is a veil which covers almost the whole face, showing only the eyes
In 2010, the government released information which provided an insight into the training which was given on how women wearing face-covering clothing should be treated at the border.
The government said it is a 'requirement that Border Force Officers' establish the nationality of all passengers who enter the UK.
It added that officers are requested to ask passengers to remove veils or other face-coverings so they can be identified as the 'rightful holder of their passport or travel document'.
Female passengers, who are uncomfortable removing a face covering in public or in the presence of males, can be checked in private by a female officer.
Detention Services provided written guidance, and wrote: 'Some female visitors, particularly those of the Muslim faith, will wear veils or other face coverings for religious reasons.
'They must not be made to uncover their faces or hair in public or in front of a man as this could cause serious offence and distress.
'When required for security or identification purposes, the removal of the veil or face covering must be done in private with only female staff present.
'Following the removal of headwear, the person must be given the opportunity to use a mirror, and to have privacy and time to put it back on.'