Rotterdam cop fights ban on headscarf with uniform

A police officer in Rotterdam turned to the College of Human Rights to fight the ban on police officers wearing a headscarf or hijab with their uniform. The woman argues that this is differential treatment based on religion, reports.

The woman works mainly in an administrative post at the Rotterdam police. The police leadership allows her to wear her headscarf while doing administrative tasks, but she has to take it off when she has contact with the public in her uniform. 

Currently the police do not allow officers to wear a headscarf with their uniform because they feel this could harm the impartiality of the police. According to the police, the goal of wearing a uniform is to appear neutral. Expressions of belief may not be visible when wearing a uniform.

The Rotterdam police officer argues that wearing a headscarf is in line with the police's goal for more diversity in the workplace. She adds that the police are selective in enforcing the non-visibility of expressions of belief. For example, wearing a wedding ring can also be seen as an expression of a particular lifestyle, according to the cop.

The College of Human Rights will rule on November 14th. 

Whether or not police officers should be allowed to wear a headscarf, has been a topic of discussion for some time. In May of this year, the Amsterdam police proposed allowing this in order to promote diversity in the corps and attract more police officers with an immigration background. Due to the controversy that arose around this proposal, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom decided to maintain the ban on wearing a headscarf or hijab with the police uniform.