Police Scotland has postponed its controversial no-beards policy after taking health and safety advice.
New rules to ensure frontline officers and staff were clean-shaven were due to begin on May 29.
The Scottish Police Federation (SPF), which represents officers, said it had received an “unprecedented” level of concern from its members and the scheme was delayed as a consultation into the changes was launched.
Police Scotland have now said the policy will be postponed for further examination and will be reviewed again in 12 months.
Assistant chief constable Alan Speirs said: “We have postponed implementation of the policy having sought further health and safety advice and after listening to the lived experience of our people.
“I am very grateful to all divisions, staff associations and unions who provided valuable feedback during the consultation phase.
“Postponing implementation allows further examination of the evidence base for a policy which is proportionate and justifies change, particularly where that change has a significant impact on officers and staff.”
“This work will be reviewed in 12 months to ensure we reach an agreed, position on a policy which has the health and safety of our people at its core.”
The force said the clean-shaven rule had been created to provide officers with the “best protection” while wearing protective FFP3 masks on duty.
The force said there would have been exemptions to the clean-shaven rule on religious or medical grounds, but the SPF claimed no equality or human rights assessment has been carried out on the policy.
The federation has welcomed the postponement of the rules, describing it as the “correct decision”.
General secretary, David Kennedy, said: “It was highly criticised from all areas of the service and whether to delay indefinitely, or until proper understanding as to why such a policy would ever be required, can only be described as the correct decision. “