Unite has described a new ‘appearance and standards’ code for all staff employed by south Yorkshire police as being ‘draconian’ and not reflecting society.
The code was introduced without consultation with Unite, which represents civilian police staff in south Yorkshire, introduces stringent rules for all staff including those in non-public facing roles.
In particular Unite is concerned over the rules regarding hair, facial hair, tattoos, jewellery and footwear.
With regards to hair the policy states: “Wear your hair so that it is cut or secured above the collar and ears. Extreme and vivid hair colouring is not permitted. Hair should be of natural colours and extra tones should be natural and subtle.”
With regards to facial hair designer stubble is banned as the policy says, “An unshaven/stubbly appearance is unacceptable”. Lengthy beards are also barred.
South Yorkshire Police are also very anti-tattoo. “Tattoos visible on your face, neck, hands or head are not permitted;” tattoos on forearms must be covered. Staff who get a visible tattoo will be committing gross misconduct and applicants with visible tattoos will not normally be recruited.
The organisation is also very concerned about jewellery with all members of staff restricted to rings on just two fingers.
There are also strict rules on footwear — “Some styles of shoe are inappropriate in certain situations due to health and safety considerations, eg high-heeled shoes and open toe sandals.”
Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting said, “This is a draconian policy which is entirely unnecessary.
“The rules on matters such as tattoos and hair colouring mean that South Yorkshire police and police staff will not reflect the community they serve, which is essential to gain the support of the general public,” he added.
“Unite fully appreciates that police officers and public facing staff need to have some guidance but to issue this huge procedures document is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
“Unite will fully support any member who falls foul of the policy or who believes that the policy is unfair or discriminatory and we will be lobbying South Yorkshire police to enter into meaningful negotiations to produce a workable policy that reflects the society which we live.”