No Tattoos for You: Scotland Yard Bans Body Art

Apparently, Scotland Yard doesn’t believe a big ol’ neck tattoo epitomizes professionalism.

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Olivia Harris / Reuters

New Scotland Yard may soon be for sale.

Apparently, Scotland Yard doesn’t believe a big ol’ neck tattoo epitomizes professionalism. So London’s Metropolitan Police service has banned all officers from going on duty with visible tattoos anywhere on their bodies.

The Met already had a rule that limited tattoos that could easily offend, such ink showing violent or intimidating images or anything rendered as offensive to religious beliefs.

But the new rule—effective immediately—says there will be no tattoos allowed on the face, hands or above the collar line. Any other tattoos must remain covered at all times.

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And it is all in the name of professionalism, the Associated Press reports.

The Met’s official statement said, according to the BBC: “The standard of appearance required from serving police officers and staff has recently been reviewed to promote consistency.”

Officers already on the force can get grandfathered into the new limitations, but must “register” the offending marks by a Nov. 12 deadline or deal with a charge of gross misconduct.

In the memo to staff, as reported by the BBC, officials told officers that “all visible tattoos damage the professional image of the Metropolitan Police Service.”

London’s police force isn’t the first to ban tattoos. Dozens of police departments throughout the U.S. require tattoos to be covered and “excessive body art” has been limited in the U.S. military too — as well as several school districts (for both teachers and students) and private businesses. Everyone, it seems, writes a different rule about professionalism and tattoos. And Scotland Yard just wrote theirs.

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