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Last week the chief of the Amsterdam Police Department voiced his intention to start allowing the Islamic headscarf as a part of police uniforms, in order to attract more recruits from a “migration background”.

A vivid national debate followed, which only intensified when a non-Muslim police officer started to wear a headscarf as part of her uniform to express her support for the new plan.

But now, the highest ranking Dutch police officer, Chief of National Police Erik Akerboom has stated the Islamic headscarf won’t be part of the police uniform anytime soon. His message, circulating the Police intranet, reads:

“Let there be no mistake. At this moment I must establish that, clearly, there is no public support for such a measure. The discussion has a polarising effect, within, and outside of the police force.”

 

He also claims to have been shaken by the intense reactions the plan caused, calling them “of a scale unheard of, emotional and sometimes crossing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.”

Despite rejecting the headscarf plan, Akerboom says he remains a proponent of diversity within the police force:

“Our society’s composition is subject to profound change. We have to adapt to maintain our legitimacy and trust. We have a lot to lose. Especially in big cities, not all inhabitens identify with the police, despite the fact that we’re there for society as a whole, regardless of descent, religion, race or sex. This requires a new and broader police craftmanship.”