Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police applicants must photo tattoos

Tattoo on police officer's arm Image copyright PA
Image caption South Yorkshire Police said tattoos on the face and neck would not be allowed, and forearm tattoos must be covered in public-facing work

A police force recruiting new officers has asked applicants to send photos of their tattoos with their applications.

South Yorkshire Police issued guidance to people interested in joining the force as a police constable.

The Sheffield Star reported that the force said tattoos would "not necessarily" prevent someone from being successful, but there were guidelines around what is and is not acceptable.

Potentially offensive tattoos, or anything on the face, are not allowed.

Neither are tattoos on the neck, head, or hands, or facial or tongue piercings.

Tattoos on forearms or under the collar must not be visible when working with the public.

The guidance comes from South Yorkshire Police's Appearance and Standards Policy, which states anyone with tattoos, regardless of whether visible to the public or not, must send photographs with their applications.

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The force plans to hold two information evenings for potential applicants for the frontline posts.

"Tattoos visible on your forearms or visible in an open-collared or short-sleeve shirt are not considered appropriate for those in public facing roles and must be covered," the force's guidance says.

"Any tattoos which could be deemed inappropriate or cause offence will also not be accepted."

The force's Appearance and Standards code was introduced in 2018 and applies to all officers and staff including those in non-public facing roles. It says:

  • A uniformed officer's hair should be cut so it is secured above the collar and ears... and should be of natural colours
  • An unshaven/stubbly appearance is unacceptable unless growing a beard or moustache
  • Lengthy beards are not acceptable for health and safety reasons
  • Tattoos visible on the face, neck, hands or head are not permitted
  • Tattoos visible in normal duty uniform, such as those on forearms, should be covered at all times by those in public-facing roles

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