South African Police is Planning to Ban Visible Tattoos

These days tattoos are as common as any other fashion accessories on one’s body. This tattoo culture is well-accepted in every corner of the world except a few countries like Japan. It’s not a taboo in major parts of the world. The culture is becoming more and more popular since its inception.

But I did not believe what I read recently about South African police wanted to ban visible tattoos on their police officers. The reason behind this big step is they feel that tattoos are threatening and offensive. This is unbelievable. This news is of the continent which is believed to be having a rich history of scar tattoos, where even age was not a bar to get that unbelievably painful scar tattoos. I don’t support scar tattoos here. That was thousands of years ago and beginning of this culture. If people still want to get that scar tattoos, I would say that would be really threatening. How is a visible ink going to be a problem?

Source :
Let’s take a look at this new rule. According to this new policy of South African police, people who wish to join South African police must not have any visible tattoos on them. It also bans visible tattoos on already serving officer. I am glad that the policy is not finalized yet and is on hold until next year. All the points will be first discussed and consulted with the employees before implementation.

I think the current policy for having is perfect. According to that, any police officer is allowed to get tattoos on hands and arms as long as the design does not have any offensive symbols. It must not have any offensive language and nudity and it must not be done excessively. The main motive is that it must not harm the reputation of South African police at all. This policy has taken care of both police administration and the police officers who love tattoos.

But if the new policy finalizes, it will definitely going to affect the new recruitments very much and no doubt also to the officers who are already serving because there must be so many officers with and and arm tattoos as currently this is allowed.

Let’s see what changes they will have to make to this new policy to take care of both the administration and the officers. What is your take?


4 thoughts on “South African Police is Planning to Ban Visible Tattoos

  1. Pingback: One More Tattoo Ban !! | Tattoo Zone (A Tattoo Blog)

  2. The “tattoo taboo” is not new. “Afrikaner” Christian conservative culture has always maintained that the human body is “the temple of God”, and as such is sacred and may not to be “abused” by tattooing and piercing. I served in the South African Police from 1986 to 2003. During my early years we had a lot of “odd” rules, eg. we were not allowed to get married without written permission, and permission was only granted after a very extensive background check of the bride/ groom to be. At the time the South African Police had a total ban on tattoos applied anywhere to the body of a member, and compliance could legally be enforced by police managers, even forcing any member suspected of transgressing the rule, to subject to full body inspection (usually by the local district surgeon/ medical examiner). The regulations were only slackened after the old South African Railway Police merged with the South African Police in the early 80’s. The Railway Police traditionally were allowed to have unobstrusive tattoos, largely because the Railway Police also included the “water wing” and ports authority, comprised of members with strong maritime backgrounds, who found facial hair and tattoos more acceptable than “ordinary citizens”. With the exception of two of the fourteen tribes indigenous to South Africa, no South African sub-culture included any form of tattooing or piercing, and the two exceptions only apply to ear piercing and curcumsition. The “tattoo culture” was generally associated with prisons, having been introduced by prisoners from foreign countries, during the early 70’s. Keep in mind that South Africa did not even have television untill the late seventies (1977), and even then everything associated with any given cultural taboo, was subject to strict censorship. Bottom line; the SAPS is not planning to, it is just continuing a well established tradition.

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