Lincolnshire Talks: Should police officers be allowed to have visible tattoos?

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Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones has openly said that he has no issue with non-offensive tattoos on police officers – is he right?

It has been suggested that officers are a representation of the community and therefore tattoos could be seen as a bad representation of the force.

In 2012, the Metropolitan Police banned officers from getting visible tattoos and suggested that they “damage the professional image” of the police.

Officers who already had visible tattoos had to declare their tattoos and failure to do so would lead to disciplinary action.

Current policies in Lincolnshire

According to current recruitment requirements issued by Lincolnshire Police, police officers and uniformed staff candidates, officers and staff should not have tattoos that could cause offence.

Tattoos and other visible body markings are not acceptable if they are particularly prominent, offensive, cause ridicule, are garish, or which undermine the dignity and authority of the role, and detract from a professional image.

Tattoos visible on the face, head or neck above the collar line are not permitted.

Photo: Alamy

Photo: Alamy

Staff who already have visible tattoos may be required to cover them if it is considered that their appearance detracts from the professional image of Lincolnshire Police.

Certain categories of tattoos are forbidden, including those that could be interpreted as rude, aggressive or offensive.

All staff are encouraged to consider the appropriateness of any tattoos that are not visible whilst engaged in their duty, but which may be visible and identifiable whilst off-duty, and offer a negative image of the police service.

However, tattoos which may be on the body on the basis of religious belief or for other cultural reasons are considered for individual officers.

Are all tattoos bad on police officers?

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said: “In my opinion having a tattoo doesn’t have an impact on someone’s ability to serve as a police officer.

“However there needs to be some common sense with recruitment and clearly if tattoos are of an offensive nature then it probably wouldn’t be appropriate to employ that person.”

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