These are the strict rules on visible tattoos for South Yorkshire 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, 12:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 2:30 pm

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.

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.

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Tattoos which are visible on your forearms, or in an open collared shirt or short sleeves, must be covered up at South Yorkshire Police

But what are the rules in South Yorkshire?

Tattoos must be covered

According to South Yorkshire Police's Appearance and Standards Policy, anyone with tattoos, regardless of whether visible to the public or not, must submit photographs along with their application.

The guidance states that tattoos which are visible on your forearms, or in an open collared shirt or short sleeves, are not considered appropriate for those in a public facing role and must be covered up.

Those wishing to join South Yorkshire Police must declare all tattoos in their application

Tattoos that are visible on your face, neck, hands or head are not permitted, while any which could be deemed inappropriate or cause offence will also not be accepted.

Tattoos which are particularly "prominent, garish and offensive, or undermine the dignity and authority of the role" are not acceptable, and in these cases, applications will be rejected.

A strict review process

Those wishing to join South Yorkshire Police must declare all tattoos in their application, regardless of whether they are visible in uniform or not.

The guidance states, "If you have a tattoo you will be asked to provide a brief description and photographs of the tattoo.

"You will be required to supply two digital photographs of each visible tattoo:

A distance photograph to clearly identify where on the body the tattoo is A close up photograph to clearly identify the images

"If the tattoo is deemed unacceptable, you will not be able to continue with your application regardless of your performance throughout the process."

There is also a ban on officers on the force from having any facial or tongue piercings.

Similar restrictions

Strict policies on visible tattoos are not limited to South Yorkshire Police, with budding Army recruits facing similar restrictions - although, tattoos on the hands and the back of the neck are now permitted.

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.