Ok, ponytails I get, but beards? “Top cop Ken Lay is facing a legal stoush to get a clean-cut force.” Oh, I get it, let’s focus on anything that’s not important and waste time and money on it. Great idea! Among facial hair banned under the edict are beards, handlebar moustaches, mutton chops and goatees. Sounds like they are trying to clean out the gays to me with that description. Enders
A rebel band of officers say banning beards and ponytails is a breach of their human rights.
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission will investigate whether the force’s new appearance standards are discriminatory after receiving complaints from rank and file force members.
The Herald Sun has learned about a dozen officers have complained in writing to the commission.
They have been exempted from the new policy, which came into effect on January 1, until the issue is resolved.
Among facial hair banned under the edict are beards, handlebar moustaches, mutton chops and goatees.
Women in the force will also face disciplinary action if they wear make-up or nail polish that is not natural looking or in neutral tones.
Ponytails and most jewellery has been banned for male and female officers.
Among those who have written to the commission are a senior detective and a police prosecutor.
A veteran officer of 30 years said his facial hair was staying on.
“We are members of the police force. We are also members of the community,” he said.
“It’s a matter of principle. I’m all for the Chief Commissioner giving instructions and I’m all for professional uniform appearance, but making us shave off our beards takes it a little too far.
“Victoria Police is 150 years old. I bet there were police commissioners who wore beards back in the day.”
The Police Association, which supports the force’s new edict, has vowed to fight for members who face disciplinary action but has urged them to adhere to the policy.
The union has told members its legal advice from Slater & Gordon is that the new policy is lawful under the Police Regulation Act.
Association assistant secretary Bruce McKenzie said it would not support members through any commission hearings but it was bound to defend them against internal discipline.
“We fear some of our members may be a victim of disciplinary action, but if that’s the case we will defend them,” he said.
“We have a job to do here and that is to support our members whether we agree or disagree with the (Commissioner’s) instruction.”
The force is yet to make a ruling on tattoos.
Insp McKenzie flagged the association would take action if its members were forced to remove tattoos or wear long sleeves to cover them.
“All of our members should be treated the same,” he said.
Facial hair was banned until former chief commissioner Christine Nixon relaxed regulations.
Under the new policy members who have beards for medical, cultural or religious reasons are exempt.
Victoria Police says an overwhelming majority of police were in favour of the new appearance code and there had been no “significant disciplinary matters”.
The commission confirmed it had received complaints and would try to resolve cases through a “confidential conciliation process”.