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EDMONTON POLICE APPROVE HIJAB


December 13, 2013
By Chad Orydzuk

411 words – MR

(Photo – Model Wearing EPS Uniform with Hijab Headscarf Option)

EPS uniform policy to include hijab headscarf option

The Edmonton Police Service has approved the option for female officers of Muslim faith to wear a police-issued hijab headscarf while in uniform.

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The traditional hijab is worn by some Muslim women as an outward expression of religious and cultural identity. It covers the head and neck, but not the face. While there are different interpretations on the meaning and practice of hijab, the EPS respects a Muslim woman’s choice to wear the headscarf.

The EPS does not currently have any members or applicants requesting to wear the hijab. However, to be proactive the EPS uniform guidelines have been updated to better reflect the changing diversity in the community and to accommodate the growing interest in policing careers from Edmonton’s Muslim community.

The EPS Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Unit (EDHRU) and the Chief’s Muslim Community Liaison Committee conducted community consultation and research into how police can be more inclusive and representative in this manner without impacting service.

As there were no police-issued hijabs readily available, the EDHRU, with the EPS Tactics Training Unit developed a prototype with the assistance of a hijab tailor. The headscarf was designed to be simple, unobtrusive and easily removed. After rigorous testing, it was determined that the headscarf did not pose any risk to the officer wearing it, reduce officer effectiveness, nor interfere with police duties or public interactions.

The hijab prototype met the requirements of Occupational Health and Safety and the professional standards of EPS Dress and Deportment. The EPS Chief’s Committee approved the police-issued hijab and the necessary uniform policy changes, which have also been supported by members of Edmonton’s Muslim community.

The Edmonton Police Service continues to change with the times, as have a number of police, justice and military organizations in western nations that have already modified their uniforms to accommodate the hijab.

As protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the EPS considers any special religious or cultural requests by officers or the community, to determine if they meet reasonable accommodation requirements. The EPS responds with a fair, consistent and respectful approach to try to meet these diverse needs wherever possible.

Regardless of race, culture, religion, or sexual orientation, it is important that anyone who has a calling to serve and protect Edmontonians and passes the rigorous recruitment and police training standards, feel welcome and included in the EPS.