Police Scotland pays £60,000 in settlement to officers over beard ban


Police Scotland has paid a total of £60,000 in settlement to four officers who took legal action after being instructed to shave their facial hair.

This payment was made to four traffic officers who were ordered to shave before a force-wide policy on beards was proposed.

In May, the force had plans to implement a clean-shaven policy, but these plans were postponed due to staff criticism. The intention behind the proposal was to allow officers to wear protective FFP3 masks, which require users to be clean-shaven. This policy would have applied to various categories of officers, including local frontline officers, roads policing officers, firearms officers, and public order officers.

Concerns were raised about the potential impact of this policy on equality, particularly for LGBT and other officers.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs, who announced the plans, noted that there would have been some exemptions under the policy.

The Scottish Police Federation supported the four officers in their legal action, which was based on claims of sex and disability discrimination.

General Secretary David Kennedy expressed that the situation could have been handled "a lot better" and emphasized the emotional impact on the affected officers. He highlighted that some of these officers' families and children had never seen them without a beard, and requiring them to change their appearance had significant consequences for them as individuals.

Kennedy stressed the importance of treating police officers as individuals, not just numbers.

It has been reported that the four officers involved signed 90-day non-disclosure agreements regarding their settlements, which is why the details have not been disclosed until now.

Police Scotland has declined to comment on the settlements, and the postponed clean-shaven policy will be subject to review next year. Photo by Postdlf, Wikimedia commons.

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