The Garda uniform is to be updated to allow members to wear hijabs and turbans under a new push to encourage minority communities to join the force.
Launching the new, ‘The Difference is You’ recruitment drive, Commissioner Drew Harris said it is vital that the force becomes more diverse to accurately reflect the community it serves.
The drive aims to “attract candidates from across society, with a wide-variety of skills.”
“An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation and this new competition is very welcome,” said Commissioner Harris.
“We have been attracting high calibre people to the organisation, but it is vital in a time of near full employment that this continues.”
As part of the drive the Garda uniform policy will be updated so that members of the Sikh community will be permitted to ear turbans, while Muslims will be allowed to wear the hijab.
This will be “subject to operational, and health and safety obligations.”
The approach has already been adopted by police services in the UK, US, Australia and Canada.
"We hope that this will encourage people from minority communities to join An Garda Síochána,” said Commissioner Harris.
“We want to demonstrate to them that An Garda Síochána is an inclusive employer that is serious about becoming more diverse.”
The force is also carrying out research with minority communities to identify what else it can do to encourage them to join up with the Gardaí – as a member, civilian or reserve.
"We also know that we need to become a much more diverse organisation so that we properly reflect the society we serve,” said the commissioner.
“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.
“Fundamentally, we are looking for people who thrive on keeping people safe. 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.”
The Difference is You
The recruitment drive is open from today until 3pm on April 24th.
The size of the force has increased to almost 14,200 in recent months and the Government is aiming to increase that to 15,000 by 2021.