14:11 GMT18 September 2020
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    The burqa has caused quite a stir over recent months, from police in Nice banning Muslim women to wearing burkinis on a beach right up to debates around whether the full face veil should be allowed in Europe. But now, for thousands of Muslim women who wear the burqa and work in law enforcement, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

    West Midlands police in the UK have issued a statement saying they would allow Muslim police officers to wear the full burqa, in a bid to encourage more recruits from black and ethnic minority communities. A force spokeswoman said bosses would consider requests from officers who may want to wear the garment, which covers the body and face, although no such requests have been made as of yet.

    ​"We would need to consider our own rules and cultural sensitivity. We don't have any barriers relating to the burqa," ​Chief Constable Dave Thompson told Sputnik. 

    "As it stands we have not had any approaches from potential recruits asking to wear the burqa, but if such an approach was made it is something we would have to consider. Serving the people of the West Midlands is at the heart of what we do and I would need to carefully consider anything that could be seen as standing in the way of that relationship." 

    These latest developments come shortly after the police in Scotland said they would allow Muslim women to wear the hijab and will make it an official optional part of the forces' uniform.

    However, not everyone in Europe feels the same way. It was only last month that police officers in Nice forced a Muslim woman to remove her burkini in front of people on a packed beach. 

    The debate and controversy around the burkini — and to some degree the hijab — have caused many women, from all backgrounds and faiths, to protest at what they see as intolerance and inequality.    

    West Midlands Police has announced the recruitment of around 800 new police officers. Around 30 per cent of the West Midlands community are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds (BME) while 9 per cent of West Midlands' 7,000 police officers are from the BME community.

    "What's important here is that we reflect the community we serve. We've already taken significant steps with a third of our current recruits from BME backgrounds but there's far more to be done," Chief Constable Thompson told Sputnik.

    Related:

    To Ban or Not to Ban: Burqa Has Become Political Issue in Europe
    ‘Most Tolerant’: Poll Reveals Most Brits Support Banning the Burqa
    'The Burqa Should be Banned': Germany Holds Heated Debate on Veil Proposal
    Burkini Ban Sparks London Uprising as Protesters Rally at French Embassy
    Tags:
    intolerance, burqa, controversy, hijab, society, police, tolerance, religious tolerance, inequality, Europe, United Kingdom, Scotland, Nice
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