Surrey becomes the latest force to order officers and staff not to display body art while on duty.
Chief officers at Surrey Police have followed the lead of colleagues at the Met in ordering all officers and staff to cover up visible tattoos while they are on duty.
The force has introduced the initiative as part of a more formal dress code, which is being rolled out at the beginning of August. The policy also states shirts, ties and trousers or skirts must be worn when constables are not in body armour.
In a letter to all officers and staff, Chief Constable Lynne Owens â€“ who is a former Assistant Commissioner with the Met â€“ accepted that the decision to order the covering up of tattoos would be â€œcontroversialâ€ for some. She added: â€œBut I am clear that this is part of the dress standards code and is applicable to all.
â€œAs you will be aware, my expectation around the standard of service we deliver and the pride and professionalism we must display is high â€“ I firmly believe our ability to do this and be seen as a reassuring, authoritative presence is inextricably linked to our standard of dress, which for many clearly identifies us as Surrey Police.â€
The new standards â€“ which are also endorsed by Police and Crime Commissioner Kevin Hurley â€“ were produced following an internal review and are summarised in a booklet.
The document says tattoos can be covered with â€œlong-sleeved shirts, concealing make-up or with a flesh-coloured plaster,â€ adding: â€œThis applies to all officers, staff, specials and volunteersâ€.
In her statement to officers, CC Owens stressed that the review had â€œnot been done in isolationâ€, and organisations including the Police Federation and trade unions had been consulted.
She said she expected supervisors to â€œlead by exampleâ€ and â€œchallenge anyone whose dress and overall appearance doesnâ€™t correspond with the professional imageâ€.
CC Owens told officers and staff in her letter: â€œI know you will join with me in making sure the way we look says that we are proud to be a member of Surrey Police.â€
Tattooed officers ordered to cover up (Â£â€¦)
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