However much indignation it has engendered in the ranks of his increasingly touchy troops, I have to agree with the Met Police Commissioner that visible tattoos are inappropriate on police officers, as they would be on magistrates, doctors, nurses, and chartered accountants. When I was younger a tattoo signified that you had spent time in the Navy or in prison. Now the dratted things are , inexplicably, everywhere.
Uniforms engender confidence, and that is why I support their use by those whose jobs involve face to face management of the public. And that is why I shall wear a suit and tie tomorrow.
Musings and Snippets from a recently retired JP. I served for 31 years, mostly in west London. I was Chairman of my Bench for some years, and a member of the National Bench Chairmen's Forum All cases are based on real ones, but anonymised and composited. All opinions are those of one or more individuals. JPs swear to enforce the law of the land, whether or not they approve of it. Nothing on here constitutes legal advice.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
I Ink, Therefore I Upset The Boss
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Tattoos are just rather more permanent makeup. As far as I am concerned, they are no big deal.ReplyDelete
As for uniforms, they attempt to conceal individual differences, which is very hard for face-blind people like me, and I don't particularly see their merit in general. No doubt it's a Good Thing to be able to recognize your local cop on the beat if you want one, but I dare say you know the saying about that.
But Bystander, this was already the case at least 3 years ago. Tattoos above the collar would not be allowed, and in arms had to be covered by long sleeve shirts. Officers with such tattoos would not be issued short sleeved shirts at all. And when applying for a job you'd have to declare and send pics of any current tattoos that you had. So, I don't really understand that piece of news unless it is to reaffirm an already existing policy.ReplyDelete
However, when do you draw the line? Tattoos? Facial hair? Glasses? Just being plain ugly? Can I tattoo a moustache and get away with it? Can other forms of body painting, i.e. religious, be also banned, or must be exempted from that rule?
Same with uniforms in general. The current ones for the Met are so outdated that only recently have been changed from "being dressed like a dinner party and remember to iron that shirt every single day" to "being able to carry all the required paperwork and a non-iron shirt that won't stick to your sweaty back".
Times move on. Police should, too.
It's interesting to see that Bystander has reverted to his old male persona. For my part, I prefer the authentic voice of our well-known grumpy 60-something year old West Londoner to the rather less incisive prose of certain members of the new Team BS. I am not too fussed about body art, so long as it's not intrinsically offensive (an example would be a tattoo proclaiming membership of a proscribed organisation), so long as it doesn't affect the essential dignity of the court. I've seen much smarter members of the bench in roll neck tops than bewigged advocates and even judges trailing unfastened cuffs, frayed collars (even in one case, a torn and dangling collar), scattering clouds of dandruff every time they shake their unkempt locks,, and sporting "designerless" stubble in bleary eyed confusion. I don't like tattoos much, but think one can get one's knickers in a twist for rather more important issues. I recall with despair the commentary from the protesting interpreters' organisations about the allegedly questionable dress sense of some of those who appeared in court. Great play was made of a woman wearing a scruffy scarf... I should have been more interested in whether she was qualified and capable of working from and to whatever language she had been engaged to interpret in.ReplyDelete
I think it's a question of degree. I don't see a tattoo as being per se inappropriate on a police officer, doctor or accountant (or magistrate), any more than heavy make up.ReplyDelete
I think thtat tattoos above the neck, and any which are likely to offend or be desisive a a result of their content/subject matter should be covered up while on duty, but I would not see (say) something like the name of a partner or child / mum / celtic / moari inspired design or similar as being inappropriate.
As bystander says, tattoos are much more common and more mainstream than they were in the past. Not eveyone may like it (I'm not a big fan of tattoos myself, on the whole) but I don't see any reason why the police and other uniformed services should not review and update their policies from time to time.
Whilst I am not, on the whole, in favour of visible tattoos on the police (or indeed anyone), this is merely a matter of personal preference- just dont like the things. My outdated opinions on most matters are generally ignored! Even with my fuddy duddy outlook I am not sure that there should be a "bright line" policy on this for the police. As Justices in the Supreme Court to your worships on the bench so often exclaim, is not not all a matter of "fact & degree"?ReplyDelete
I am sure, however, any Judge would be even more attentive than usual should Maria Jose Cristerna appear before them to plea a case (the "Vampire woman of Mexico" usually reported as either "trained lawyer" or "former lawyer" who is reported to have transfermed herself with implants and tattoos following along term buse).
I agree that tattoos are ugly and unnecessary.Police shouldn't have them full stop but i'm a dinosaur! On my team of about 25 PC's and PCSO's I did a poll of who has them.To my surprise only 4 or 5 of us haven't got them.Sign of the times I suppose.ReplyDelete
If you want to see the type of people how are always tattooed then watch Jeremy Kyle.
Watching 6 months of Jermy Kyle 18 hrs a day 7 days a week would be a far greater sentence than any fine handed out by a Magistrates Court. Repeat offenders would have to watch 12 months and so on an so forth. It would make Magstrates courts virtually redundant given a few yrs run of this form of sentencing.Delete
Repear offenders if not cured could be forced to watch C4 Come Dine with me on an endless loop.
The main thing about tattoos is the need to avoid stereotyping the owners and allowing prejudice to distort their perceived reliability (if a witness) or guilt (if a defendant). A bout of selective blindness is probably the best course of action.ReplyDelete
If they were respectable enough that Winston Churchill, Prince Albert and allegedly HM Queen Victoria herself had them done*, they ought to be respectable enough for a Justice of the Peace in this day and age. Besides, as far as most people under 40 are concerned these days, they indicate no more about your personality than whether you prefer to wear a beard or be clean-shaven.ReplyDelete
I object to those which are inherently menacing or offensive "love and hate across knuckles" for example. Above the collar seems excessive for a cop. There is the overall question though of engendering confidence - Mrs Miggins, aged 85, or even my mum would feel threatened if the cop had a visible tattoo. May not be right, or modern, but that's how it is. I don't have one ass I can't bear the thought of the process. I have never seen a tattoo parlour and thought "that looks like a nice, clean hygenic place to have one done".ReplyDelete
So how many asses do you have then, rex?Delete
I can see it now.ReplyDelete
Scrote up for murder-most-foul enters the dock for sentencing, still protesting his innocence. He has "Berserker" inked on his forehead. M'lud whips the toupée from his bald head to reveal the black cap inked on his pate. "Any questions?"
(Yes I know -- no more black cap, but still ...)
Puts me in mind of the Jasper Carott joke about the thug who had "Anchovy" tattooed on his forehead, because he couldn't spell "Anarchy"ReplyDelete
A friend told me of an associate who hailed from the Meanwood area of Leeds. This young man decided to put self-inflicted "MEAN" and "WOOD" across his knuckles in the "LOVE" and "HATE" style, but due to an error in perception/spelling, ended up when he put his outstretched clenched fists together with the word "MEANDOOW" displayed!! Lol!ReplyDelete
Fair enough. But hoodies are OK for those in the red robes ?ReplyDelete
....covering their tattooes, of course.Delete
I am not tattooed, pierced, gay, transgender, an ethnic minority, challenged by girth, horizontally, visually or indeed disabled in any other way as far as I am aware. Consequently the only discrimination I faced was because I was stupid.ReplyDelete
I’m not stupid now but I still look roughly the same. Some of my short, fat sexually different pierced friends are stupid and some are not. None of them can be legally discriminated against anymore.
Back in my young ill-informed innocent days I’m certain that I would have been incredulous at the site of a visible tattoo on anyone in ‘authority’. However my conservative, ignorant untraveled views formed before I had tattooed children of my own and had suffered at the hands of un-tattooed inept witless and rude individuals in ‘authority’ have changed.
Over the last 30 years I have had almost daily contact with police officers and court staff ranging from the guy on security to many a learned judge, and now the very last thing that would concern me would be a tattoo regardless of it’s location – albeit that they may initially cause some surprise.
At my daughters 21st birthday party a man sporting a bright green haircut, numerous extreme radical piercings and tattoos introduced himself to me thus ‘Hello Mr xxxxxxxx, I’m Mark a friend of your daughter’s, thank you for allowing us to hold our party here please be assured we will leave your house as we found it’. He was what is known as ‘straight edge’ meaning he didn’t smoke, drink alcohol, take drugs and was vegetarian.
I know that people who look like that are perceived by many as threatening or stupid but we all need to be more open to change and difference.
The problem here is the separation of the individual, role & uniform. In some jobs the uniform is obvious, like the police. It serves multiple purposes, identification, protection, & some practicality. Body adornments that are outside the the accepted norm can be seen to undermine the organisation that uniform represents. Obviously an offensive tattoo is bad, but if it's hidden away - why the drama?ReplyDelete
That being said some professions set themselves apart and expect higher standards and if PC plod has a rude tattoo on his chest, it's not an issue unless it's seen and he or she is identified as a Copper.
We have become a more tolerant society, but there are places when your personal preferences need to be secondary to that of the role. Uniforms have a place, be they formal ones or just ones of convention. It is right that the police have higher standards than the norm, but what's under their tunics is their business. If what's there could be a problem, it should stay covered.
That being said, if you want a top investment tip - invest in tattoo removals - if will be all the rage in a few years!
A Magistrate I know says he heard evidence recently from a police officer who had one arm completely tattooed from T-shirt sleeve to wrist. He can remember the tattoo, but not the evidence.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry but I think the Commissioner goes too far. Whilst I accept that generally speaking tattoos that are on the face and neck, hands and arms are not the most pleasing on the eye I don't think a retrospective ban is fair at all. Going forward yes , but backwards no.ReplyDelete
I'd rather they polished their shoes ,wore black instead of white socks and maybe had a shave plus combing their hair.
But I'm an old fuddy duddy too.....having said that when I was in the Army it was really only the other ranks that went infor tattoos, not the Ruperts or Rodneys
It's not retrospective though. These are existing force policies that haven't been enforced properly.Delete
When I was younger women, darkies and the Irish knew their place.
This having to move with the times stuff is AWFUL isn't it?
A tattoo across the face, crawling round the neck, on wrists/hands etc might not be appropriate for a police officer but something on the arms where it's not generally seen, or the chest? I don't see the problem. I'd much rather they tidied up the general image and dress code; you often see female police with heavy make up, scruffy/died hair and so on which to me does a much better job of diminishing their aura of authority.ReplyDelete
Typical obsession with appearances while the entire economic system has been pillaged!ReplyDelete
Crime rates will rise for the next two decades as a result of cuts and poverty. But at least some in court will not be visibly tattooed?!
Why get one at all if it is under clothing? Spending money to have something done that nobody will see seems something of a waste.ReplyDelete
I believe you left a "th" out of the headline.ReplyDelete
How are tattoos applied, BY? Think about it. With a little drill and indelible .... ink .... Whilst the modern mode is to express our empathy with whosoever transits across the headlines of our daily online bulletins by "identifying with them - "I am [Malala]", to give but the latest and most poignant example - the allusion in BS's title was to the Cartesian declaration of existential reason "Cogito ergo sum", or "I think therefore I am." Artfully transposing this idiom to fit the theme of his post (namely the 'inking' of tattoos), he has then taken this a step further - following the well-defined structure of the continental logical approach: "thesis, antithesis & synthesis" - and focused on what this tells us about the matter in hand. As it happens, neither I nor indeed most commentators agree with his rather surprising subservience, but he is entitled to draw whatever conclusions he wishes! He is after all, when it comes down to it, a product of his environment as much as any of us are.Delete
What a load of pretentious bollocks. This blog and the commentators offer, on the whole, reasonably well informed ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ views not highbrow philosophical nonsense – you are on the wrong blog!Delete
Oh dear, your knickers really are showing, NB.ReplyDelete
From "I think, therefore I am" to "I ink, therefore [I upset the boss]" is a mere play on words. Nothing highbrow or indeed intellectual about that. It was thoughtful of Anon to give us a prompt as to the origins of this well-known phrase, but if s/he'd wanted to be really helpful to the passengers (of whatever sex) on the Tube - who lap up poetry with alacrity - he or she might have spelt out that "Cartesian" means that it comes from René Descartes, something not immediately obvious to all readers, perhaps.
It was also quitte astute, I thought, to note the recent trend for showing solidarity through the phrase "I am", by which people "identify" (as s/he said) with the object of their support. Many of those who stand outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to demonstrate their concern for and admiration of the young Pakistani blogger [which puts your contemptuous dismissal of Anon's allusion in its proper antediluvian context: the Taleban also deprecate learning] shot in the head for daring speak out in support of girls' education carry banners and placards emblazoned with the following slogan: "I am Malala." Blogging has increasingly become the medium of liberation and opposition to oppression, as in the Arab Spring and in China, and I found this allusion a particularly apposite one here on a blog which itself has been threatened with closure, albeit with "clever words" rather than at gunpoint!
It is always disturbing when people try to put down those who "don't speak their language", and revel in their own ignorance. One of the things I enjoy about this and other blogs is the opportunity to learn and have my sometimes rather conventional thinking challenged. That wouldn't be possible if I were to close my mind to anything outside my ken.