The Garda Commissioner has decided to allow alterations to the garda uniform for religious and ethnic reasons, as a new campaign to recruit officers was launched.
With these new changes, gardaí will allow members of the Sikh community to wear the turban and members of the Muslim community to wear the hijab.
Justice Minister, Charlie Flanagan, announced the launched of this year’s recruitment campaign for new members of An Garda Síochána, by stating that all sectors of society should be represented within their police force.
He went on to say ‘An Garda Síochána is an integral part of those communities, where they force connections which have helped maintain public respect for our policing service. I very much welcome the Comissioner’s decision to facilitate alterations to the Garda uniform on request to accommodate religious and ethnic diversity.’
Commissioner Drew Harris stated that the force needs to ‘become a much more diverse organisation so that we properly reflect the society we serve. That is why our campaign is focusing on people who might not have previously considered a career as a Garda member. They have the skills we need for a policing role, but they might not have thought they could transfer those to being a Garda.
‘We want to encourage people from all walks of life to join us. We are looking for diversity not only in background, but also in skills.’
This approach is one adopted by various police services such as the PSNI, Police Scotland, New Zealand Police, NYPD and other police services in UK, Australia and Canada.
In 2013, the High Court had dismissed a challenge by a member of the Irish Sikh community after he was not allowed to wear a turban while training for the Garda reserves.
Two years ago, Police Scotland announced that the hijab had become an optional part of its uniform.
Other police forces have permitted their officers to wear the turban or hijab for some time, with both being allowed by the Metropolitan Police in London for over 15 years.
For more information, please visit https://www.thejournal.ie/garda-uniform-religion-ethnicity-4575632-Apr2019/
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