Police chiefs in Amsterdam are considering allowing female Muslim officers to wear headscarves, the AD said on Thursday.
Currently police officers are not allowed to wear any religious symbols but officials are considering lifting the ban in an effort to improve diversity.
‘We are talking about it,’ the city’s most senior officer Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg told the paper. ‘If we cannot recruit sufficient officers with a migrant background, this is a measure which could have an impact.’
Aalbersberg says half of the city’s police force should have an ethnic minority background to better reflect the city’s population. Currently some 52% of the city’s residents have ‘non-Dutch’ roots, compared with 18% of police officers.
‘The make-up of Amsterdam is changing,’ he said. ‘I think this is a subject for debate, and that should involve the man in the street as well.’
The current national rules date from 2011 when the VVD and Christian Democrats formed a minority government which was propped up by the anti-Islam VVD.
Police union ANPV said the city’s police chiefs should not be so quick to emphasise differences. ‘The minority police officers I speak to are not happy about it,’ chairman Geert Priem said. ‘They do not want to benefit from their background.’