The Mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur (PS), is not saying an outright “No” to local policewomen wearing the veil. His spokeswoman, Gaëlle Verhasselt, indicated on the Bruzz Brussels news website on Saturday, “We have in fact considered the issue. However, we are awaiting the conclusions of a working group specifically considering this subject.”
The debate started within the police forces of the capital, after a similar reflection took place within Amsterdam’s police forces.
The authorities do indeed wish to integrate more women of foreign origin into the police forces.
They think that such a measure would allow greater diversity in terms of staff taken on.
The Mayor of Vilvorde, Hans Bonte (Alternative Socialist Party), fully agrees.
As alluded to above, Brussels City Council is currently reflecting upon this possibility.
Verhasselt said, “A prohibitiion on the wearing of political or religious symbols by civil servants and employees carrying out a public duty became law in Belgium in 2008. However, since then, it was called into question by an employment tribunal, which found the employment agency and advisory service Actiris to be at fault.”
She went on, “This is why Brussels City Council has currently put in place a working group to study this issue and the Council is monitoring this closely.”
In other words, at the current time the Council is not ruling out the wearing of the veil by local policewomen.
Gaëlle Verhasselt is keen to assure people that if the wearing of the veil is deemed appropriate, it would only be in consultation with the commune of Ixelles. The latter also forms part of the police zone, thus having a right to be consulted.