Turbans and the hijab will be allowed to be worn by Sikh and Muslim members of the Garda. The new rules were announced by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris as the force opened a recruitment competition for trainees.
In order to encourage candidates from minority communities, An Garda Síochána confirmed it will “consider alterations to the Garda uniform to take account of religious and ethnic requirements subject to operational, and health and safety obligations”.
As a result, the force is to allow the wearing of the turban for members of the Sikh community and the hijab for members of the Muslim community and acknowledged that this issue has been identified “as a major barrier to some people considering becoming a Garda member”.
The move is in line with that adopted by police services such as the PSNI, Police Scotland, New Zealand Police, NYPD, and other police services in UK, Australia and Canada. The recruitment competition, which runs until 3pm on April 24, is seeking to attract candidates from across society and with a wide variety of skills to join An Garda Síochána.
As of March 31 , there are 14,161 members of An Garda Síochána, with a government commitment to grow this to 15,000 by 2021. Mr Harris said it was important that the Garda reflects the diversity of the population it serves.
“We also know that we need to become a much more diverse organisation so that we properly reflect the society we serve. That is why our campaign is focusing on people who might not have previously considered a career as a Garda member. They have the skills we need for a policing role, but they might not have thought they could transfer those to being a Garda.
“Policing is a highly rewarding career where every day you can make a difference to the lives of individuals and communities. We want to encourage people from all walks of life to join us. We are looking for diversity not only in background, but also in skills,” he said.
Mr Harris said he hoped the changing of the uniform rules would “encourage people from minority communities to join An Garda Síochána”.