Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

New group in Muslim police drive

Police patrol
Thames Valley Police's Muslim Association hopes to aid recruitment

Thames Valley Police have encouraged a drive to employ Muslim officers by creating a dedicated association.

The force's Muslim Police Association has been formed to support its Muslim officers.

PC Raja Yousaf, the head of the association, said the group will "help to cultivate a better understanding of Islam and Muslim culture".

The force employs about 60 Muslim officers although the association will be open to all employees.

The move follows Thames Valley Police's addition of 10 Prevent Engagement Officers, who work in the community to counter extremist messages.

PC Yousaf said: "We hope it will help in the recruitment, retention and progression of Muslim police officers and staff, and strengthen the bridges that have already been built between police and the local communities."

The association was set up on Monday after recommendations from the Association of Chief Police Officers that any force with a large Muslim staff should have a formal association.

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