Muslim communities attitudes towards and recruitment into the British police service

Imran Awan*, Frederick Blakemore, Kevin Simpson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Recent UK media reports have often portrayed Muslim communities in a negative light (Allen, 2010). Indeed, the frequent media focus of Muslim's being arrested for counter-terrorism offences have been reported in great length. Yet the Muslim community remains diverse and is one of the longest established UK communities within Britain. However, previous studies show that there remains a tense relationship with the police and Muslim communities (Awan, 2011) with negative attitudes held by many young British Muslims towards the police (Kundnani, 2009), and indeed negativity remains stronger from young people from minority ethnic communities. The focus and aim of this research was to gather perceptions from the Muslim community in Birmingham as regards whether they would choose or recommend a career within the police service. Thus the objective for the study was to try and get a better understanding of Muslim perceptions about police recruitment.This article reports on the findings and implications of a small-scale study conducted in 2011 comprising of interviews with two Muslim groups namely the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities from Birmingham (in the UK), where 20 people were interviewed in four groups consisting of (5) participants. The categories included Young People (aged between 15 years and 18 years); Community Leaders; Mosque Representatives and Female Groups (aged between 18 years and 30 years) which aimed to identify and gather the views of Muslim communities in respect to their views about choosing a career with the police service. Analysis revealed that the Muslim community responded in a fairly homogeneous way: they had a lack of trust towards the police and also issues were raised about the legality of counter-terrorism policing operations; a perception that the police service were a racist organisation and that the police had failed to engage with the Muslim community in Birmingham which had left a negative experience of Muslim communities and the police.3 Recommendations to improve the image and recruitment into the police service include more pro-active work with local communities and the use of community policing as a means to reach out to otherwise 'hard to reach groups'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-437
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Law, Crime and Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Counter-terrorism
  • Muslims
  • Policing
  • Profession
  • Recruitment
  • Trust


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