29 January 2007

Diversity Matters 1

Another day, another diversity matter. This time the tabloids round upon, for once, NOT a Muslim officer or PCSO, but a Jewish one! See? They can be fair and impartial too! Hurrah!

Reported in The Soaraway Current Bun (where else?) was an article describing how an Orthodox Jewish police recruit has been given Friday afternoons off as it's the Jewish Sabbath (if it's not deemed too damaging or demeaning to call them "recruits" these days - it's probably something soft and fluffy like "trainee officer", "student officer", "constable in training", "student", "person who happens to be learning policing and the law but no bloody discipline or anything that might be considered disciplined, uniform or militaristic" or something like that)(we are also not encouraged to call them "squibs", "bloody probationers" or "gobby probbies" either [Boo!]).

Some people have been disparaging about this but "Splendid!", say I!

The Anglican church is the official religion of the UK (like it or not) and observes many of the rites of the Roman Church. As such, these include Holy Days of Obligation and there are [excuse the pun] MASSES of them! Including most Sundays! Far be it for me to go against the precepts of the Vatican and the edifice of the Anglican Communion and NOT go to Church on Sundays now, even the Sundays I work, and of these there are many. I shall ensure I am shriven on Shrove Tuesday and receive the ashes on Ash Wednesday, all with a happy smile and jaunty step!

Of course nobody knows quite how orthodox this reportedly Orthodox Jew is - my Jewish friends, though at the time of writing this is unconfirmed, inform me that in Israel there is universal National Service for men and women, except the Orthodox community, and that this is due to issues such as the one above - there are too many rules of the Talmud and particularly around "Shabbat" that it would be impractical to have Hassidic and similar communities in the armed forces. They are therefore exempt. [here, I have to pause and consider my sources - word of mouth from people who are very "right-on" and as a result, have no support for anything they consider to be in any way fundamentalist - but these are my friends! I am open to correction and education on any points that are inaccurate or misleading]

There is not necessarily a parallel to the policing situation here, but there may be.

If one's faith - any faith - precludes one's ability to do a 24hours a day job like policing, is one in the right job? Can we be "of faith" and still police effectively and without being a burden to our colleagues?

Incidentally, looking up some references on-line to illustrate today's 'blog, I came upon some horrendously anti-Semitic sites, especially some US ones. This certainly highlights the need for diversity but surely, SURELY there is some common, central ground: not being fascists with minorities but not being unrealistically and impractically accommodating either? These questions and issues, I suspect, will run and run......

22 Comments:

Anonymous Onthe buses said...

I did hear about one PC in the MET thats a Budhist(?), apparantly his/her religion precludes him/her from being woken up by an alarm clock and that he/she has to wake up naturally. A new shift patten has been devised around this, presumably to avoid early turns.
Now wheres those clippers....

30 January, 2007 12:35  
Blogger PC South West said...

I think we have had to bend back over to accommodate people for various reasons these days.
I think that if someone wants to do a job, then they have to meet the needs of the job rather than the job having to meet the needs of the individual.
Where will it all end?
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30 January, 2007 18:24  
Anonymous Joe Public said...

Correct me if I'm wrong (which I probably am) but aren't police officers forbidden from joining a political party? I assumed that was on the basis that they should be impartial upholders of the law. I myself am religious but I would never dream of asking for special time off if I were in a job like the police. What attracts somebody to the force (I refuse to say service)? I doubt it's the money. A desire to serve and protect the community and to enforce and uphold the law. Surely anyone who was commited to doing that in the first place would continue to carry their faith within them, even to guide them, whilst being on call for such a 24/7/52/365 job.

Sorry for rambling comments, hope it made sense

30 January, 2007 20:16  
Blogger Bitseach said...

Yup we are indeed forbidden to be members of political parties and still subject to other restrictions on our personal & home lives, eg must declare business interests, spouse's businesses in certain circumstances, ask permission (!) to move house, and can only be members of a union if we were so before joining the job (amongst a very long list of other prohibitions!).

If police force / service practices are directly or even indirectly discriminatory then we would - rightly - be taken to task for this, as employers, and in some cases as individuals. However there are exemptions where there is held to be a GOQ (I think that's right) - a genuine occupational qualification that is required, eg, having physically able people doing heavy building work. I would have thought that The Job could justify a GOQ for many of the situations that these blatent lead-swingers are exploiting.

On my Borough we used to have a radio controller whose accent was so strong that she could not understand officers, and we could not understand her. She happened to be from a foreign part (never could figure out which one, which didn't help in trying to tune my ears in to understand her), but there was another guy with a London accent that few could understand either! A case for a GOQ? Good diction and clear speech when doing a radio despatcher's job? Apparently not! She ended up being known on borough as "say again, you broke" as she pretended that the radio reception was obscuring our messages, not that she couldn't understand UK regional accents!

You couldn't make it up!

30 January, 2007 21:45  
Blogger BelfastPeeler said...

If the job spec said weekend work required and the person was employed and signed a contract on that basis then they should either do the job everyone else has to or resign.

31 January, 2007 13:46  
Blogger thoughts running through my head.... said...

I'm an atheist-does that mean I can have all Sundays off to go and shop???How is this treating all employees equally-someone needs to just say 'no'and apply one rule to all.

06 February, 2007 19:49  
Blogger Bitseach said...

It's Lent now. I DEMAND no chocolate to be eaten by anyone in the nick as I've given it up and to see anyone else enjoying something I've foresaken for the good of my religious beliefs is OFFENSIVE to me, my culture and my religion.

No-one must eat chips, fried chicken or kebabs either. Not because of my religion but because they smell so damned fine and make me hungry and I am fast becoming a fat sow with a regulation "Met-issue" Bottom, female, extra-large. Bloody hell!

:o)

28 February, 2007 00:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear, I am about to walk a fine line, if not cross it. I am just curious, but do fundamentalist Muslim terrorists strictly abide by the tenants of their religion? Do attacks cease during the call to prayers? Perhaps there is no violence during Ramadan? I am sure there is more to add to the list, but what I am really curious about is... if the baddies can temporarily set aside their religious principles in furtherance of their "jobs," why can't a sworn officer do the same?

And then of course there is the issue of good old fashioned manners. If this person is unable to show respect to a senior officer, how will the general public fare with her piss poor attitude toward British manners and customs?

Oh well, time to head back across the politically correct dividing line and meekly accept the fact that integration actually means abondonment of all the national characteristics of being British.

31 March, 2007 18:53  
Blogger ChjpHunter said...

Correct me if I'm wrong (which I probably am) but aren't police officers forbidden from joining a political party? I assumed that was on the basis that they should be impartial upholders of the law. I myself am religious but I would never dream of asking for special time off if I were in a job like the police. What attracts somebody to the force (I refuse to say service)? I doubt it's the money. A desire to serve and protect the community and to enforce and uphold the law. Surely anyone who was commited to doing that in the first place would continue to carry their faith within them, even to guide them, whilst being on call for such a 24/7/52/365 job.







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My views are my own and would probably not endear me to my dear employers.