Is there a limit to the cost of accommodation?

The UK has been hit with a recent controversy over expenditures, allegedly upwards of 100,000, spent on finding appropriate anti-terror gear that could accommodate the Sikh turban. A good deal of this was spent taking the officer away from duty and asking him to approach equipment manufacturers himself to request accommodated gear. Shortly after this search period expired, he took a leave in order to cope with the emotional stress of this experience.

Two very salient arguments are made: One side argues that such cost was a “waste” and took the officer in training away from assignment (he was in limbo — he was not able to serve with the regular police, but without a uniform could not get full clearance to serve with anti-terror specialists). The other argues that the officer is sorely needed, that the county he hails from is actively trying to diversify its anti-terror police force, and that the cost is worth it if it paves the way for other ethnic and religious minorities to feel comfortable trying out to join the anti-terror squadron.

I think there’s validity to both arguments. Accommodation, especially in democracies, ought to be a key value in integrating diverse communities. That said, it sounds like the UK (or local) government did not take the issue of diversity seriously. The problem is not in the 100,000, per se, it’s in the failure of the state to actively support, or deal seriously with, the issue of Sikh guards.

But is there ever a (monetary) limit to accommodation? How do we find that limit? Is it a simple cost-benefit analysis, or are there other, more weighted, measures that come into play? Was it the money itself, or the poor management of said money?


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2 Responses to “Is there a limit to the cost of accommodation?”

  1. pov says:

    I draw somewhat of a parallel between this and the motorcyle-helmet-turban case. Where the city alleged that providing an exception for helmets to Sikhs with dastaars poses a financial burden on the healthcare system.

  2. pov says:

    I draw somewhat of a parallel between this and the motorcyle-helmet-turban case. Where the city alleged that providing an exception for helmets to Sikhs with dastaars poses a financial burden on the healthcare system.