West Yorkshire Police reverse ‘bizarre and unfair’ policy banning arm tattoos on officers

Conrad Duncan
File photo dated 29/08/16 of a police officer with visible tattoos: PA

West Yorkshire Police have reversed a “bizarre and unfair” policy that forced officers to cover-up their tattoos on duty.

The policy, which only allowed “small, inoffensive and non-prominent” tattoos on the neck and hands to be shown, was the subject of an 18 month campaign by West Yorkshire Police Federation.

On Friday, it was announced West Yorkshire Police had relaxed the rule and would allow arm tattoos to be displayed if they are not offensive.

“We have long argued that the policy was bizarre and unfair, as small and non-prominent tattoos on the hands and neck were allowed to be shown but all others must be covered,” Guy King, the general secretary of the federation, said in a statement welcoming the reversal.

“It brings us in line with what is widely accepted within society at large and reflects the modern, diverse workforce we have."

Mr King added: “I’d like to thank [Chief Constable John] Robins and his command team for listening to officers.”

The federation said a survey of 1,182 officers last year showed a majority of respondents backed easing the restrictions, with 55 per cent saying they had a tattoo.

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A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said the policy had been relaxed "to allow officers and staff to display arm tattoos when wearing short sleeves".

The Metropolitan Police scrapped a similar rule preventing new recruits from having body art last year.

At the time, Commissioner Cressida Dick said the move would bring “the Met into line with other service.”

She added: “Many young people are ruling themselves out of joining us because of their tattoos."

Ten per cent of Met Police applicants in 2017 were rejected because they had tattoos.

Agencies contributed to this report

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