Scotland Yard said yesterday that a Muslim woman police who refused to shake hands with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at her passing-out ceremony would be dismissed if she did not “engage” with people as other officers do.
Sir Ian Blair personally congratulated all 200 recruits at a ceremony in London last month, but shook hands with only 199 after the woman specifically requested that she should not be required to do so, apparently for religious reasons.
She also asked not to have her photograph taken with Sir Ian, Scotland Yard said, but a spokesman refused to confirm reports that the officer had cited her concern that a picture would be used for “propaganda purposes”.
A spokesman said Sir Ian had questioned “the validity” of her request at the time and an investigation was now going on into the incident.
The statement said: “Ordinarily, the Metropolitan Police Service would not tolerate such requests.
“This request was only granted by members of training staff out of a desire to minimise any disruption to others’ enjoyment, and to ensure the smooth running of what is one of the most important events in an officer’s career.”
The statement added: “An officer’s probationary period is designed specifically to ensure that they undertake the role as required. If this does not occur the officer may be required to leave the service as any variation on this will not be tolerated.”