Police Scotland’s facial hair ban policy cannot start on schedule

  • By Katie Hunter
  • BBC reporter from Scotland

image source, Getty’s paintings

The BBC understands that Scotland’s police shave policy cannot start on May 29 as originally planned.

Forces want officers and front-line personnel to shave off their beards so they can wear specially fitted FFP3 face masks.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) told the BBC it had been inundated with complaints and policy consultations would now continue until June.

Police Scotland has committed to full consultation prior to implementation.

The BBC asked Scottish police to confirm the delay, but the police said they would not comment on the dates.

He said workers’ associations would be consulted ahead of the policy’s planned introduction at the end of May.

But the SPF, which represents police officers, said consultations would continue until June.

image source, Getty’s paintings

photo title,

The clean shave policy is to allow officers to wear protective masks

Four traffic police officers are taking legal action against Police Scotland over discrimination and disability.

The BBC understands that men were ordered to shave last year before an all-strength policy was proposed. They were marked undeployable as a result of not shaving.

They are represented by Amanda Buchanan, Chief Legal Officer at Levy and McRae Solicitors.

She said protecting workers is a very important and legitimate objective, but questioned the proportionality of the policy.

Ms Buchanan said there may be other options that would respect officers’ right to express their identity and personal choice to have a beard.

“I think it’s similar to saying with a woman, maybe why don’t you have short hair, just cut your hair,” she said.

“It’s how you choose to express your identity, your personality and that’s very important and part of your human rights.”

Scottish police said they could not comment on ongoing legal matters.

The new clean shave policy will have exceptions for officers and staff who cannot shave for religious, cultural, disability or medical reasons.

The Scottish Police have said they are trying to introduce an alternative type of respiratory protection for these people

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Ash Toner-Maxwell said it was clear the proposed policy was of concern to many LGBTI officers

The general secretary of the Scottish LGBTI Police Association, Ash Toner-Maxwell, said it was clear the proposed policy was causing serious concern to many of its members.

In a statement, she said: “Officers and staff are not required under equality law to disclose their disability, religious or cultural views.

“We are concerned that officers and staff may feel compelled to reveal a protected characteristic by keeping their facial hair and wearing the proposed ‘alternative’ face mask.

“This is especially worrying when we consider our transgender colleagues. Politics can affect the mental health of a transgender man whose facial hair is an essential part of their transformation.”

She said that for some members a beard or facial hair is an important part of their self-expression and that some gay, bisexual and transgender men wear facial hair or beards.”

In a statement, ACC Speirs said the safety of officers is a priority and that FFP3 masks – which are face-fitting and require users to shave closely – provide the most appropriate and effective respiratory protection.

He said the risk from the coronavirus has decreased, but there are wider threats such as fires, road accidents and chemical incidents that require protective equipment to be worn.

The deputy chief of police said he understands the frustrations of those affected on the front line, but the policy is absolutely necessary to protect officers and staff from serious health risks.

He said: “We are listening to a wide range of views on this matter and will fully consult with all relevant workers’ associations before implementation.

“As part of this process, a full human rights impact assessment is also carried out.”

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