Police federation question "science" behind new clean shaven policy

Police Scotland announced that frontline officers would have to shave off beards under a new policy.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) general secretary has questioned the “science” behind the decision to introduce a new clean-shaven policy for frontline officers.

David Kennedy has told STV News he has seen an “unprecedented” amount of concerned raised within the force as hundreds of officers will have to shave off their beards and moustaches in the next few weeks.

It comes after Police Scotland announced the new clean-shaven rule on Friday in an effort to provide officers with the “best protection” while wearing protective FFP3 masks on duty.

“We have concerns about the science behind it, the way that Police Scotland has stated that officers are in danger. Its having a real impact on our members”, Mr Kennedy said.

“Where is the science behind this to show that officers are in danger?

“We’re not surprised in a sense because we knew that Police Scotland after Covid had FFP3 masks forced upon them in a sense, because of the Covid, but what we are surprised about now after Covid, the science behind the masks tells you that it gets caught through the eyes.

“And now they are looking at using these masks in a different area of policing.

“We started off with drips of officers coming to us and now we’ve had what I would describe as an unprecedent amount of officers coming to us with concerns.

“Concerns they also have is that these incidents that they say are unsafe, where they not safe before?”

The SPF general secretary also highlighted how the new policy will impact officers “identify”.

He added: “One concern an officer shared was that he joined the police with a beard, his wife’s always known him with a beard, and now he’s not going to have a beard if this policy is implemented.

“It’s a part of their identify, part of who they are. Its going to affect them.”

Police Scotland said there will be exemptions to the clean-shaven rule on religious or medical grounds, but Mr Kennedy claimed no equality or human rights assessment have yet been carried out on the policy.

“The consultation period has started, however, there is no equality impact assessments, there is no human rights assessments been done, we are still waiting to see them.

“Feedback we are getting from Police Scotland is that the policy will be adopted.”

Mr Kennedy admitted that he could see it becoming a legal case, if the policy continues to create “issues and discrimination”.

He added: “If the legal advice says there are issues and discrimination, and there are issues by the implementation of the policy, then absolutely.”

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