Po­lice chiefs scrap rules on re­cruits hav­ing tat­toos

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - by ANDY WORDEN an­drew.worden@reach­plc.co.uk Twit­ter: @andy_­wor­den

PO­LICE chiefs in Lon­don are scrap­ping rules on new re­cruits hav­ing tat­toos, which have barred hun­dreds of po­ten­tial of­fi­cers from join­ing the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice, as the force faces a “chal­leng­ing” rise in vi­o­lent crime.

As part of a £1.25 mil­lion re­cruit­ment drive launched on Wed­nes­day, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice said can­di­dates with tat­toos will be con­sid­ered for roles as it tries to at­tract an­other 2,000 of­fi­cers over the next year, to take to­tal num­bers above 30,000.

Met Com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick said the new rule “brings the Met into line with other ser­vices”.

Dur­ing the lat­est fi­nan­cial year, out of about 13,000 new re­cruits who ap­plied to the force, ap­prox­i­mately 10% were re­jected be­cause of tat­toos.

Ms Dick added: “Many young peo­ple are rul­ing them­selves out of join­ing us be­cause of their tat­toos.”

Asked if those with sleeve tat­toos would be em­ployed, Ms Dick said: “Po­ten­tially, as long as they are not of­fen­sive, but of­fi­cers may be asked to wear a long-sleeved shirt on oc­ca­sions.”

Pre­vi­ously, vis­i­ble tat­toos were not per­mit­ted for any of­fi­cer in the Met and fa­cial tat­toos re­main banned.

The re­cruit­ment drive comes as Lon­don faces a wide range of se­cu­rity con­cerns, in­clud­ing a high homi­cide rate. More than 100 homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tions have been launched since the start of 2018.

Neville Lawrence, the fa­ther of mur­dered teenager Stephen Lawrence, said this week that even the “leafy sub­urbs can no longer ig­nore vi­o­lent crime”.

Ms Dick was con­fi­dent Lon­don­ers are safe, but ad­mit­ted the rise in vi­o­lent crime has been a “chal­lenge”.

She said: “I think the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple go­ing about their busi­ness in Lon­don will be very safe. Lon­don is a safe city by any­body’s stan­dards.

“I think what Neville is say­ing is we’ve even seen some knife crime in ar­eas peo­ple in the past didn’t ex­pect to see it, and that is a chal­lenge.”

She added: “We’ll be us­ing the 2,000 new of­fi­cers in a whole va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent ways in their first cou­ple of years, and they will be part of the fight against vi­o­lent crime.

“They won’t ini­tially be work­ing on homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tions, but their pres­ence will help the homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tors and, of course, their pres­ence on the streets will help re­duce vi­o­lent crime.

“In gen­eral they will be part of the fight against vi­o­lent crime and they will be reach­ing into our com­mu­ni­ties giv­ing a re­ally good, com­pas­sion­ate ser­vice to vic­tims.”

Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick

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