Police trial anti-grab hijabs in bid to recruit more Muslim women

19th Mar 2021
Police trial anti-grab hijabs in bid to recruit more Muslim women

Leicestershire Police Student Officer Khadeejah Mansur (Credit: Leicestershire Police)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Leicestershire Police is trialling “anti-grab” hijabs to encourage more Muslim women to join the force.

Police have given the hi-tech headgear to a student officer to roll them out to colleagues on the front line. Made of a sports fabric and fastened with magnetic buttons, which allow for quick release if a suspect attempts to grab it, the hijab is designed to sit comfortably with police headgear such as caps and radio earpieces.

A team spent 16 months designing the new-look hijabs at New Zealand’s Massey University College in Wellington. New Zealand Police introduced them into its uniform last November and they are now expected to be rolled out to forces in the UK.

Chair of Leicestershire Police’s Association of Muslim Police, Detective Constable Yassin Desai, said, “If everything goes well and the necessary tests and approvals are met, we could be rolling this out in Leicestershire.

I have also been talking to other forces in England and Wales and the Home Office about it being a national solution for emergency services and frontline staff. It’s really important for our Muslim officers who wear the hijab. Operationally, a standard hijab is needed”.

“It looks professional, uses very similar material to our current police uniform and has relevant design and safety features. More importantly, it will help attract other Muslim females to become police officers. It will also help provide role models to the community to show them they too can follow a career in policing”.

In a statement to The Muslim News student Officer Khadeejah Mansur, who is trialling the hijab, said, “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.”

She added, “It is a big step for Leicestershire police to be able to cater to upcoming hijab-wearing Muslim female officers. It breaks down barriers, breaks stereotypes and brings communities together and that is something that we value as police officers.

The hijab itself is fashionable and practical; I hope it will be inspiring to fellow Muslim females to encourage them to start a career with our police force.”

Deb Cumming, Senior Design Lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand, created the hijab with colleague Nina Weaver said, “The hijab fits the head and neck-shoulder area for freedom of movement and rigorous performance with contoured panels and reinforced zones for durability, access for the communication device and a quick-release fastening system for safety reasons.

It is made from a technical sports fabric, which is light to wear, antibacterial, moisture-wicking and robust. We conducted extensive wear trials to ensure the hijab was fit for purpose”.

Suleman Nagdi, who is running a project “Cops Communities Consent” for the last three years through the Open Society Foundation and working with the police forces in Leicestershire, Antwerp and Rotterdam, said, “I hope that this new dress addition to our forces uniform will contribute to making the Police more reflective of the communities it serves, this will encourage a greater diversity of applicants and demonstrates the openness of our Police Force to consider applicants from all backgrounds.”

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