These are the strict rules on visible tattoos for Northumbria police officers

If you have a lot of visible tattoos, they can prove to be something of an issue in some lines of work, with many employers requiring them to be hidden at all times.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 3:13 pm
Visible tattoos should be covered while an officer is on duty in Northumbria

Police forces in particular have traditionally been very strict on their policies about visible tattoos, but last year saw the Metropolitan Police relax their rules in a bid to attract more recruits.

Previously officers were not allowed any visible tattoos, resulting in the rejection of around 13,000 applicants who applied in the last financial year.

Visible tattoos should be covered while an officer is on duty in Northumbria

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The new rules now allow recruits with visible tattoos to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, rather than being automatically rejected, although, facial tattoos still remain banned.

But what are the rules in Northumbria?

Tattoos should be covered

According to Northumbria Police's dress and personal appearance policy, visible tattoos should be covered while an officer is on duty.

Any tattoos that are visible on your face, neck and head are not permitted

The guidance states an officer should "take all reasonable steps to cover tattoos whenever possible whilst on duty, or representing the force at public events.

"This can be achieved by wearing long-sleeved shirts, with concealed makeup or a flesh coloured plaster."

Any tattoos that are visible on your face, neck and head are not permitted.

Additionally, tattoos which may be considered provocative, offensive, cause ridicule, or otherwise detract from a professional image, are also not acceptable.

The guidance also extends to facial piercings, with any nose, eyebrow, lips or tongue piercings, or piercings on any other visible part of the body, required to be covered.

This is due to the potential risk of these becoming caught, detached, struck, or impaled into the wearer's body if they are engaged in potential confrontation.

Similar restrictions

Policies on covering visible tattoos are not limited to Northumbria, with budding Army recruits facing similar restrictions.

If you have a tattoo which is offensive, obscene or racist, it will prevent you from joining the Army.

Small tattoos that are not offensive in any way are generally not a problem, although this does depend on where they are on your body and how visible they are.

The Army has the following rules regarding tattoos:

- If your tattoo is visible on a passport photo it will be deemed unacceptable

- Tattoos that are offensive or obscene, i.e. those that depict sex acts, violence or illegal drugs, for example, are not allowed

- Tattoos on the hand and the back of the neck are now acceptable. However, most soldiers keep their saluting hand clean out of respect

- Tattoos on the head and face are unacceptable

The Army also has some restrictions on body piercings that could prevent you from joining, such as those which change the way you look, like a 4mm flesh tunnel or larger.

Similarly, nurses and firefighters may can also be faced with such restrictions, with some being required to cover visible tattoos, such as those on the forearms. However, this can vary by employer.