Peter Davidson owner/operator of Creative Tattoo Art in Lismore and Byron Bay.
Peter Davidson owner/operator of Creative Tattoo Art in Lismore and Byron Bay. Jay Cronan

Tattooist hit by long arm of law

PETER DAVIDSON has inked lots of people in his 41 years as a tattoo artist, including "heaps" of police officers.

"They've just got a job to do the same as all of us and the ones that have come here have been beautiful people to talk to," Mr Davidson explained.

But a draft policy designed to clean up the NSW Police Force's image could discourage more police from getting tattoos.

Assistant Commissioner Mick Corboy, who co-authored the draft policy, said tattoos may be popular but some people are still offended by them.

"In one suburb it may be okay but in another suburb it might be considered offensive or might even be frightening."

If implemented, the policy could mean serving officers with tattoos could be asked to cover them, while potential recruits with face and neck tattoos could be rejected.

Mr Davidson is not impressed with the policy, which he said breaches "individual and personal choice".

"It's a load of crap. I just shook my head when I heard that because as if a cop would get a face or a neck tattoo," Mr Davidson said.

"Everyone should choose wisely when you get a tattoo, but the police should be able to get a tattoo wher- ever they want, just the same as us."

Mr Davidson pointed to Benjamin Roberts-Smith, a veteran of Afghanistan, as a decorated public figure with prominent tattoos.

"The latest VC (Victoria Cross) winner in Australia is covered in tattoos," Mr Davidson said.

"He has a full arm piece that starts from his wrist and goes right up and he shook hands with the Queen and the Governor General."

But the NSW Police Association president Scott Weber said it's important officers look professional to ensure the public has confidence in its police force.

"In principle, we agree that new police recruits should not have excessive tattoos, especially above the neck," Mr Weber said.

"Any new police policy on tattoos will have to be carefully worded to avoid potential discrimination issues and to ensure every situation is judged on its merits."

 

SHOULD COPS BE ALLOWED TO HAVE NECK AND FACE TATTOOS?



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