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NEWS | Sunday, 11 November 2007

Police force turns down tattooed candidates

James Debono

Police officers are prohibited from having tattoos which visible on any part of the body which is not covered, a parliamentary question has revealed.
That is what Home Affairs Minister Tonio Borg told shadow minister Gavin Gulia in parliament, who has told MaltaToday two applicants for the police force were turned down because of a tattoo on their shoulders.
“This could be a case of discrimination since other people with tattoos are accepted in the police force,” Gulia told MaltaToday.
According to procedure, police officers have to make sure their tattoos are entirely covered not just by a long-sleeved and trousers uniform – but also by a shorts and T-shirt, effectively excluding anyone with a tattoo on their arms, wrists and legs from the police force. Applicants for the force can have a tattoo which is not too big and that will be coverable by the various police uniforms.
And shoulders could be contested areas depending on the size of the tattoo.
Gavin Gulia said the two applicants passed the examination and were told that they were not accepted because of their tattoo.
The Labour MP is insisting that having a tattoo should not disqualify anyone from joining the police force. “Having a tattoo has no bearing on intellect and good manners. There are people without tattoos whose behaviour is far worse than that of people with tattoos and vice-versa.”
But Gulia still agrees with a policy that tattoos should only be allowed in places which can be easily covered. What he expects is that these rules should be fine-tuned to ensure that such cases are not a matter of “subjective discretion”.
“I cannot imagine applicants being asked to strip to their shorts to check whether they have a tattoo or not,” added Gulia.

jdebono@mediatoday.com.mt



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