People more comfortable with a tattooed police officer than a tattooed estate agent, survey suggests

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Earlier this month, the Police Federation announced that their campaign for the acceptance of tattooed police officers was met with success - a decision that’s sure to get the thumbs-up from a sizeable majority of the public.

Indeed, according to a new survey, a whopping 73 per cent of Brits approve of inked officers.

The new appearance standards guidance – developed by the College of Policing and accepted as best practice - has been said by the Police Federation to “provide officers and staff with clear direction on their appearance, so that they present a professional image while also being allowed some self-expression”.

London-based property firm Savoy Stewart delved deeper into the issue of tattooed police officers in the workplace using independent research, alongside reports from the Police Federation.

Studies have revealed that 48 per cent of serving officers have a tattoo, 17 per cent of which have a visible tattoo when in their uniform.

However, Home Office guidance on tattoos is vague and open to interpretation, meaning that in recent years, guidelines on inked officers have varied wildly across forces.

The survey by Savoy Stewart looked into how comfortable the public are with tattooed professionals across industries in order to see where police officers would appear on the list - with some surprising findings.

The survey asked Brits the following question: How comfortable would you be with a person with a visible tattoo working in the following

occupations?

PROFESSION / %COMFORTABLE / %UNCOMFORTABLE

Athlete / 88% / 12%

Chef / 81% / 19%

Police Officer / 73% / 27%

IT Technician / 72% / 28%

Estate Agent / 69% / 31%

Banker / 63% / 37%

Doctor / 59% / 41%

Judge / 59% /41%

Nurse / 57% / 43%

Lawyer / 57% /43%

Primary School Teacher / 49% / 51%

Political Figure / 44% / 56%

Air Hostess / 42% / 58%

The results showed that respondents were more comfortable seeing a tattooed police officer than a tattooed estate agent.

This supports the Police Federation’s own study, which demonstrated a similar level of acceptance, where 55 per cent of fellow officers felt comfortable working with a tattooed colleague.

Interestingly, the public seemed to be more uncomfortable seeing body modifications in female-associated roles such as primary school teachers (51 per cent of respondents were uncomfortable with this), air hostesses (58 per cent) and nurses (43 per cent).

Indeed, according to this study by Savoy Stewart, British workers are more comfortable seeing a tattooed politician (44 per cent approval) than a tattooed air hostess (42 per cent).

The study also revealed the characteristics we most associate with people who have tattoos.

These included being rebellious, less intelligent, and unhealthy.

Although more and more of us are inking our bodies, this doesn’t seem to be stopping employers from using this as a reason not to employ an individual, with 54 per cent of hiring decision makers thinking that tattoos can have a negative impact on the workplace.

Currently in the UK three in ten 25-39 year olds have tattoos, which means a serious shrinking of the talent pool if an employer decides not choose a candidate with body art.

This would be particularly troublesome to an already struggling police force.

Studies have shown that British women in particular would be affected, as they are more likely to be tattooed than men. Indeed, the Police Federation has demonstrated that 52 per cent of female officers have a tattoo compared with 47 per cent of male officers.

However, times maybe be changing, as proven by the new appearance standards guidelines by the College of Policing.