A new police uniform has been developed specifically for Muslim women in an attempt to recruit more black and minority ethnic officers.
West Yorkshire Police is the first force in the country to launch the new loose fitting uniform ‘designed not to show the female form’, bosses said.
It is hoped the uniforms will improve race equality among applicants after police chiefs were told to do more to appeal to BAME recruits. Showing the new uniform to the Muslim Women’s Council in Bradford
The force – like many across the country – already allowed female officers to wear the hijab. Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams said: ‘For the last month we have been trialling a new uniform for women which is designed not to show the female form.
Woman complains of pain in vagina, finds out there's a dead tortoise inside ‘This was suggested by a Muslim female officer and was designed by our Clothing Manager in conjunction with the officer. ‘The tunic is a looser and longer fit, and has full sleeves.
‘This has been well-received from officers in the force and we have now made further supplies of this uniform for other officers to trial it if they wish.’ Bradford-based PC Firzana Ahmed became the first to wear the new uniform which, she said, had attracted ‘positive feedback from the local community’.
Ms Williams added: ‘I hope this uniform will encourage people from underrepresented groups to consider a career in policing if they had previously been put off joining the force due to the uniform.
‘We are open to suggestions from all communities on how our uniform can be styled to better suit their needs.’ West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel had quizzed police chiefs on Friday about what they were doing to boost the number of BAME recruits.
Panel member Roger Grasby said the force had seen some success in boosting the number of staff who were female, disabled or lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) but ‘less so with BAME’. The proportion of its workforce from a BAME background increased marginally from 5% in 2015 to 5.6% this year.
Mr Grasby asked whether bosses had done an in-depth analysis of the recruitment process, to see at what point people from non-white backgrounds were failing to progress to the next stage of a job application, ‘to establish whether there is any unconscious bias’.
Chief Constable Dee Collins said for some women, concerns about the existing uniform’s design could be preventing them from signing up. She said the new uniform had been run past the Muslim Women’s Council in Bradford, adding: ‘I am absolutely determined we will continue to improve these figures. ‘We need to, we absolutely need to.’