Political correctness trumped the safety of police officers when the RCMP introduced its official hijab uniform earlier this year.
After The Rebel broke the story in January that the RCMP would allow Muslim women officers to wear a hijab on duty, the RCMP tied its announcement with “diversity week,” showing off hijab-clad mannequins at an Ottawa event.
Canadians were told that the official hijab was a balance between religious freedom and safety of officers.
I have hundreds of pages of documents, obtained exclusively by The Rebel under the Access to Information Act, showing a different story. Emails, communications memos and training reports show that up until late last year, all of the prototype hijabs that the RCMP tested for safety “failed miserably,” according to the inspector spearheading the project. A comprehensive report concluded they “cannot be deployed operationally due to concern for officer safety while wearing the garment.”
Cadets who wore them during hand-to-hand combat assessments needed to end the simulations because they were literally choking, and the hijabs partially blocked their vision.
It took more than a year and a half of development, testing, reporting and analysis to yield three failed prototypes, and up until October of 2015, no new models were ordered.
In November 2015, the RCMP had two new prototypes, though according to these documents, the RCMP didn’t re-run any of the safety tests that it did for the first batch of models. In spite of this, communications briefings, drafted by sworn police officers, told department officials to say “the RCMP-issued hijab has undergone rigorous testing to ensure the design meets the highest standards of officer safety.”
Again, there are no documents suggesting that happened. If the uniform hadn’t been tested, why the rush to launch it?
One RCMP staff sergeant said the uniform hijab was “seen as reducing a potential barrier for some women candidates (to the police department.)”
An early draft of a communications briefing said that one of the objectives of the uniform change was “to attract and retain Muslim women to the organization,” though this was scrubbed from the final draft.
Another officer recommended that even non-Muslim female officers wear the hijab when “serving in communities with significant Muslim communities” or visiting a mosque “as part of their duties/outreach.”
I go through the documents point by point, and show how political correctness has a chokehold on the RCMP, just as these government-issued hijabs do on those who wear them.