Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

New group for Muslim police staff

Police patrol
Strathclyde Police Muslim Association hopes to help recruit more officers

Scotland's first Muslim Police Association has been launched in Glasgow.

Strathclyde Police Muslim Association will look at boosting the recruitment and retention of Muslim officers.

It will also aim to improve understanding of the faith with the public and tackle "Islamophobia".

Scotland's first Muslim police officer, Pc Amar Shakoor, will act as chair of the newly-established group, which aims to recruit up to 50 members.

Pc Shakoor said the Strathclyde force employed about 55 Muslim police officers and civilians, who he hoped would become involved.

Scotland's diversity is one of its greatest strengths and it's important we encourage dialogue and partnership
Alex Salmond
First Minister
"We hope that the association will help to recruit more officers and civilian staff for Strathclyde Police from a Muslim background," he said.

"The aim is to build bridges with the Muslim community and work better with all people for the future."

First Minister Alex Salmond, who attended the launch, described it as a "significant step forward in strengthening relations between Strathclyde Police and Muslim communities".

"Scotland's diversity is one of its greatest strengths and it's important we encourage dialogue and partnership across all faiths if we are to make Scotland a safer and stronger society," he said.

"The association is a positive step towards making Strathclyde Police more effective in understanding and responding to community concerns."

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