Police beard and hipster cops may soon become things of the past.
Beards will be banned within the police force? YES! Now this just needs to spill over to other jobs, & then further into society #HateBeards
— Silvia (@Antlady69) July 25, 2015
In a bizarre new law issued by the Gloucestershire Constabulary in the U.K., their officers have been told to shave off all facial hair. And for those hipster cops who just cannot do without a beard on their faces, the department intends to introduce hair nets. It must be noted here that Britain’s regional police forces are each subject to their own dress codes, as reported by the Independent.
Speaking to Quirker, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport confirmed the reports, saying that the ban on police beards will lead to a more professional image for the force. A spokesperson for Gloucestershire Constabulary concurred while talking about the importance of “presenting a professional appearance and being smart.”
“We consider it plays a significant part in maintaining and enhancing public confidence in policing. The policy is intended to provide guidance to managers and staff.”
The shaving off of police beards and facial hair in general is not a singular incident in the history of the police force, at least not in the United Kingdom. There have been other measures to curb tattoos, tanning, and long hair among police officers in the past. In one instance, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe banned Metropolitan police officers from having visible body art, according to the Bath Chronicle. However, it is the new law that forces officers sporting police beards to wear hair nets that is drawing the most amount of ridicule by professionals and public alike.
Steve White, Chairman of the Police Federation, said long police beards are certainly not acceptable, but introducing hair nets seems to push the matter into extremity.
“Police officers have got to look professional and smart when they are on duty, but for goodness’ sake – there’s a big difference between a trimmed goatee and a full length Father Christmas ZZ Top beard. People just need to be sensible.”
In his opinion, the new measure is nothing short of draconian.
“They [police beard and long hair] can be used as a weapon, for someone to grab. That’s why it’s important to keep long hair tied back on patrol. But a beard net? Chief Constables shouldn’t be looking at such draconian measures. There are many more much more important things that need to be discussed.”
Also, there have been concerns raised by Muslim and Sikh police officers, who believe the new laws are not in line with a secular approach to beards sported by the police.
People took to social media to express their concern, as well as to scoff at the new decision.
Right, so coppers can have offensive tattoos on their forearms which say "Manchester United" but they can't have a beard?? #PoliceBeards
— Daniel Walford (@BookmanDan) July 25, 2015
Rather than getting dumb on beards & inoffensive tattoos just dress smart, act professionally, #policebeards
— Richard Horton (@iofiv) July 25, 2015
It will be interesting to see how the Gloucestershire Constabulary responds to the widespread criticism of their new laws, but by all accounts, it is likely that police beard will soon pass into oblivion in that part of the world.