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'I will hang on to my beard until May 29', says local police officer

By Chris Saunderson

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POLICE officers with a beard or moustache have until May 29 to shave it off.

Many officers are understood to be unhappy with the clean shaven proposal.
Many officers are understood to be unhappy with the clean shaven proposal.

A clean shaven policy is being implemented by Police Scotland on the grounds of facemask protection protocol for frontline staff.

It is understood a number of officers are pursuing legal action against the move.

One local bearded officer said: "We will just have to deal with it by the looks of it. Not exactly happy about it but it looks like it will have to be done. We have got until May 29. I'm clinging on until then."

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs said: “The safety of our officers and staff is a priority and the policy around the use of respiratory equipment is being implemented to protect those on the frontline.

“Significant learning from the covid pandemic identified that the FFP3 mask – which is face-fitted and requires users to be clean shaven – offers the most appropriate and effective respiratory protection to officers and staff.

“While the risk from coronavirus has lowered, wider risks remain to those attending calls, such as fires, road accidents and chemical incidents which require PPE to be worn.

“The Respiratory Protective Equipment policy mandates that, where it can be reasonably foreseen that an officer or member of staff will use an FFP3 mask in the course of their duties, they should be clean-shaven."

An exception to the policy covers officers and staff who cannot shave for religious, cultural, disability or medical reasons.

Added Assistant Chief Constable Speirs: "In these circumstances, Police Scotland is seeking to introduce an alternative type of respiratory protection.”

During the Covid pandemic police officers were fitted with specialist masks designed to protect them from the virus.

The Scottish Police Federation said its General Secretary David Kennedy is supporting several members who had lodged employment tribunal cases, and it has sought legal opinion relating to health and safety, discrimination and human rights.

Police Scotland has about 17,000 officers and 6000 staff.

Mr Kennedy added: "There are serious concerns in relation to the proposed implementation of the policy and its proportionality to risk."

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