New Zealand police officially introduces hijab to uniform

The first officer to wear it has worked with the police to make the design both functional and respectful of her religion.

Kayla Wong | November 17, 2020, 02:28 PM

The police force in New Zealand has introduced hijabs to its uniform for Muslim women for the first time, NZ Herald reported.

Police worked with officer to design the headscarf

The first officer to don the religious headscarf is thirty-year-old Zeena Ali. She worked with the police force to design the garment so it is both functional and respectful of her religion.

Ali, who joined the police after the 2019 Christchurch terror attacks as she wanted to help her Muslim community, told NZ Herald she realised that more Muslim women were needed in the force to support people in the event of such attacks targeted at Muslims.

She explained that most Muslim women were "too scared to talk to the police and would probably shut the front door if a man turned up to talk to them".

So if more women show up in a more diverse front line, they could "reduce more crime", she said.

Had she joined the police earlier, she thinks she would have been able to help out more.

First officer to don headscarf is proud of wearing it

Ali says she is proud to wear the headscarf, and that it "feels great" to be able to show the New Zealand Police hijab as part of her uniform.

"I think that seeing it, more Muslim women will want to join as well," she added.

The New Zealand police said on its job recruitment page that they "recognise the value different perspectives and experiences bring to making [them] better at what [they] do", and that "diversity is essential" in serving the needs of the country's communities.

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Top image via New Zealand Police