By Zeyad Zaky
Three female police officers in South Yorkshire, United Kingdom took dressed in Muslim attire as part of the “In Your Shoes” program, telegraph.co.uk reports.
They went shopping in this attire in order to experience what it is like for a Muslim woman to be out in public. The officers and some Muslim women also had a chance to communicate on a more personal level.
According to thestar.co.uk, the Muslim women accompanied the officers while shopping, and they discussed the trials and tribulations they face on a day-to-day basis. This in turn allowed the officers to gain a better understanding of the issues Muslim women face, while also learning about their faith.
The program also gave the Muslim women a chance to find out what kind of issues the female officers faced on their job. During their tour of the police headquarters, they saw police cells, a CCTV control room, and had a “day in the life” discussion with the police officers.
According telegraph.co.uk Sergeant Deb Leonard, who took part in the exercise, said, “I have gained an appreciation and understanding of what Muslim females experience when they walk out in public in clothing appropriate to their beliefs … We are keen to gain a better understanding of issues which our communities face.”
While the program seems to have had a positive impact on the police officers, some of the citizens of South Yorkshire have voiced their dissent. According to telegraph.co.uk, Matthew Elliott, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “This is an absurd diversion from real policing.”
The same sentiment was voiced by Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, who said: “This has nothing to do with crime. Like most people who have been a victim of crime, I am amazed and flabbergasted that they have solved all the crimes so they can spend a day playing dressing-up games. I did not know it was the job of police to see how people feel. I thought it was their job to solve crimes.”
Time will tell whether the “In Your Shoes” program will have the effect of improving community relations, or if it really was a waste of time and resources.