Bearded police officers in Scotland have to work with the shaving brush. From the end of this month, facial hair will be banned for a large part of the corps, the BBC reports on the basis of an internal message. According to the British broadcaster, hundreds of agents will now have to go through life without a beard or moustache.
The reason for the striking decision is the use of so-called FFP3 face masks. Those protections are worn during fires, traffic accidents and chemical incidents, among other things, and work best when placed on a shaved face, police said.
There are exceptions for people with disabilities and those who do not shave their beards for religious, cultural or medical reasons. For those groups, a different type of face mask is being considered.
The Scottish Police Federation, to which almost all officers are affiliated, says it has been inundated with complaints about the new policy. The BBC reports that four police officers are considering legal action.
The Scottish Police Service employs around 17,000 officers and 6,000 office workers. It is the largest police force in the United Kingdom, after that of London. Beards and mustaches are allowed there, provided they don’t look unkempt.