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Fresh ink rules out a career in police | thetelegraph.com.au

NSW police officers will be banned from having visible tattoos under a sweeping reform of the force's public image set to begin this year.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that a draft policy, being prepared for Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, is in the final stages of approval and recommends banning all visible tattoos on serving police and new recruits coming into the force.

The document, written by Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy and Assistant Commissioner Paul Carey, recommends a new standard for cadets, meaning that anyone with prominent body art trying to join the police could be denied entry to the academy.

Discussions are also under way about how serving officers with full-sleeve tattoos, or other prominent tattoos, should be managed, with several options being considered.

They range from asking officers to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to cover up the tattoos, to the more extreme measure of having them removed entirely.

Mr Corboy, who heads the Education and Training Command, said he believed visible tattoos, particularly those above the neckline, were a blight on the NSW Police Force.

"This is about professionalism, it's about proper discipline and how you carry yourself in public," Mr Corboy told The Sunday Telegraph.

"We've identified more recruits coming in with full arm tattoos, or tattoos on their legs, and obviously some are on their necks and faces.

"Does the community want someone knocking on their door with a Mike Tyson tattoo on their face or neck? I don't think so.

"As an organisation we need to discuss whether what people place on their arms or body is a reflection on the NSW Police Force."

Mr Corboy said his personal view was that anyone with a tattoo on their face or neck should not be allowed to become a police officer.

"We have to send a clear message to those joining that these are our expectations," Mr Corboy said. "As for how we recruit, my position on facial tattoos is fairly solid, but the debate about letting people in with full-sleeve or arm tattoos is a debate we need to have."

His view has been echoed by Mr Carey, the head of the force's Professional Standards Command, who said he was managing two complaints about officers said to sport offensive tattoos.

"One is a very recent complaint into a tattoo that some people deemed offensive," Mr Carey said.

Another investigation, he said, was looking at an "improper association" that formed when an officer had tattoo work done at a parlour.

"There is the issue of where (officers) get tattoos done. In one case, the tattooist had connections with a criminal organisation and we had an association form (with the officer) . . . (so) we deemed that improper; that investigation is under way at the moment."

Other aspects of the policy deal with specific types of tattoos, including tribal tattoos which could be seen as "culturally insensitive", Mr Carey said.

"There are (also) a lot of tattoos written in another language, and who knows what they say? So that's something we also need to address."

Mr Carey said his view was that officers should have only

tattoos that could be covered by clothing; any other visible ink was unacceptable.

"People with tattoos on limbs and torsos can be covered but moving on to the neck, head and face -- my view would be we don't want that look.

"A simple option for them is to cover up . . . (but) the extreme act of having a tattoo removed is something we'd have to consider (as well). I know there is at least one chap with a tattoo on the back of his neck; there's no complaint against that. However, I am investigating (another) very recent complaint into a tattoo (on an officer) that some people did deem offensive."

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The neck/head thing is understandable, but I don't get why they can't just wear long-sleeved shirts/long pants if it's required.

I'd be interested to know whether having tattoos ever helps, rather than hinders, the work of a police officer. I know a few corrections officers who are more respected by inmates, in part due to being tattooed.

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I hate comments like: benny Posted at 10:28 AM Today

"When i see dopes with tattoos i always think back to who were the first recipients of these dumb things....sailors and criminals."

I can understand not liking tattoos. It's a personal preference. I just don't get why people who dislike them just don't get them. Why do they care what others do. I like the attitude, "It's not my skin, what do I care." That's how I feel about people who don't have them as well as people who have images I would never get. And where did he learn history? Was the ice-man a sailor or a criminal? Not that we know of.

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I'm telling you... Philly cops are getting progressively more visible tattoos; so much so that when I talk about the "cop with the hand and neck tattoos" I have to specify where I saw them because there are enough of them that I could be talking about different officers.

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If you've got a cop with a racially offensive tattoo, or a 1% tattoo etc. I guess you've got a legit issue to be addressed. Hand and neck tattoos are probably a 'problem' in the way they would be with almost any other large employer. Other than that I think, as is pointed out in the article, almost anything can be covered up by clothing in the right circumstances (although I imagine that might not always be comfortable in a climate like Oz).

To be honest they should be worrying about staffing, whether equipment is fit for purpose, corruption, crime trends, how fit their staff are ... Tattoos making people look 'unprofessional'? Seriously, most police forces should have far bigger fish to fry.

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When was a copper ever professional anyway? Anyone managed to tune into the UK tv prog "Coppers" yet ? it quite good and confirms the theory that most (UK) cops are pricks ... they should be recommending better artists tho all that macho blackwork is just annoying lol Sorry off on a tangent there.

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Policy is policy, what ever they want to make it out to be then so be it. Sure hand, face, and neck tattoos could set the wrong image for an officer so banning it if they can justify it alright.

[edit] Does anyone know what that strange piece of metal is over the left breast of that guy, I don't see how that can be used for anything.

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I thought at first it might be a vest-mounted LED light like this one-

Inova 24/7

But the more mundane explanation would be that it's a bracket or clip for mounting a radio of some sort ... Although there looks to be one on the utility belt. That said, two radios is possible two, one analog and one digital.

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Tattoos in today's society have come along way from being seen as rebellion to a form of art expressed through peoples skin. The Police force is taking a step back in the progression of art and in my terms is having a detrimental effect on the officers at hand. People have been expressing themselves and their culture through body art for thousands of years and to take away that right should not be allowed. The covering up and hiding of these tattoos is acceptable but to not allow a chance to be accepted into the force based on tattooes is descrimination.

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I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

-Martin Luther King Jr

In this case though, I would say it's the colors in their skin. Ultimately I think as an employer, technically you have the right to ask your employee to conform to dress code standards. On the other hand it's kind of a dick thing to threaten to fire a bunch of officers who potentially risk their lives over a bunch of dumb tattoos. It kind of reminds me of the military. I can remember times when joining the military will make some pretty serious criminal charges go away and other times where they don't want anything to do with anyone who has ever smoked a joint. I guess they must not be very hard up at this point.

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Wheres NSW? Man is that the tide switching directions? , Its starting to smell a little fishy.hehe. I guess it was cool till they realized some people think youre an idiot fer gettin creative and free. the books and records are next.hehe.not to be a cop hater,but, It always seemed to me that cops are people that couldnt figure out who or what they are . Im sure it hurts one's brain alot less if you just do what ''they'' tell you to do. this thinkin fer myself sh#t is killin me.

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