New Zealand Police Officer Becomes First To Wear Hijab As Part Of Official Uniform
A new addition to New Zealand’s official police uniform reflects an inclusive service and the country’s diverse community.
In an Instagram post on November 13, New Zealand Police announced Constable Zeena Ali as its first member to wear a specially designed hijab as part of her uniform.
Ali first began training to join the police service around the same time the Christchurch terror attack took place, in March 2019.
During her training, from which she graduated this week, she was invited to take part in the design process of the uniform hijab.
In the post, Zeena said:
Having a police-branded hijab means women, who may not have previously considered policing can do so now. It’s great how the police incorporated my religion and culture. I am thrilled the police went out of their way to make sure the hijab I have on meets health and safety requirements as well as my own personal needs.
Saluting the police service, she said that during her training, the force organised halal meals for her and made a prayer room available.
When she had to go swimming, she was allowed to wear a long-sleeved, full swimsuit.
Ali, who was born in Fiji and moved to New Zealand as a child, told the New Zealand Herald that the Christchurch terror attack made her realise that more Muslim women were needed in the police.
‘If I had joined the police earlier I would have been down there to help,’ she said.
It feels great to be able to go out and show the New Zealand Police hijab as part of my uniform. I think that seeing it, more Muslim women will want to join as well.
New Zealand Police first began to develop the hijab for its uniform in late 2018.
In the UK, the Metropolitan Police in London approved a uniform hijab in 2006 with Police Scotland following in 2016, as BBC News reports.
A spokesperson for the police service told said they are hopeful that the addition to the uniform will create a more inclusive service.
In a statement on its website, the New Zealand Police Service said it needs ‘people with a range of skills, backgrounds and experience levels’.
‘Diversity is essential so that we can effectively serve the needs of New Zealand’s communities now and in the future,’ it added.
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