Cops to hide tattoos


By Andrea McCallum

TATTOOED cops are being ordered to hide their inked body parts after reports they shock crime victims.

Four of Scotland’s police forces have announced a crackdown on body art and will no longer recruit anyone with markings on their face or neck.

Police officers in Tayside, Grampian, Fife and Lothian and Borders with tattoos will now cover them up with full-length sleeved shirts.

But forces in Strathclyde, Northern, Central and Dumfries and Galloway have said they will keep their policy of dealing with tattooed officers on a “case by case basis”.

Inspector Douglas Winter, of Tayside Police, said the four forces enforcing the new rules have “collectively decided that tattoos of any kind, other than for religious or faith reasons, on faces or necks are unacceptable”.

The Lothian and Borders branch of the Scottish Police Federation is opposing the decision and called the move “draconian”.

Branch secretary Jackie Mullar said: “Like it or loathe it, body art is here to stay. We think it is pretty draconian to make people cover tattoos up unless they are offensive.”

Tattooists have said as tattoos become more socially acceptable, the demand continues to grow from serving officers and potential recruits.

Jared Sanders, who runs Tribal Body Art on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, said: “We always warn people that tattoos can have an effect on your chances of getting certain jobs.

“We are always careful to tell people who want to go into the police that they could have problems, especially after forces changed their uniform to short-sleeved shirts.”

The studio has its own policy of not tattooing faces or creating anything political, racial or sectarian.

Mr Sanders added: “We recently had to help a guy remove an Ulster political tattoo because he wanted to join the police.”