The Royal Air Force is easing restrictions on hand tattoos amid a historic decline in recruitment
The RAF has dropped a ban on hand tattoos for new recruits and current recruits, Forces News reported Thursday, citing an internal briefing to senior RAF commanders and recruiters.
“A number of potential recruits were ineligible to join the RAF due to having tattoos that contravened policy.” The memo stated without clarifying the number of applications that were rejected.
“This change in policy is consistent with the RAF’s inclusion policies, helps ensure we continue to represent the modern-day community we serve and is consistent with the policies of the Royal Navy and Army.” An RAF spokesman told Forces News.
The move represents a reversal of a long-standing policy that explicitly prohibits any tattoo on the hand that cannot be covered by a wedding ring. Since 2019, the RAF has also allowed eyebrow and neck tattoos as long as it cannot be seen in uniform and does not go beyond the natural hairline.
While the Navy and Army allow tattoos on the hand, they do tattoos on the face and neck — anything that might appear in a passport photo — and prohibit piercings and alterations that might appear in a passport photo. “Change the way you look” Such as large earlobes. All branches of the military prohibit tattoos that are obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, violent, drug-related, or political.
The RAF did not say how many recruits it rejected due to excessive body art. The British Army as a whole has failed to meet recruitment targets every year since 2010, according to the Ministry of Defence.
Chief of the General Staff Patrick Sanders admitted last month that the armed forces were “Very small” To win the war, with only 184,000 regular soldiers and volunteers. In December, the Army announced the lowest number of active duty personnel since the Napoleonic Wars of 1815.
While The Telegraph reported that the ongoing downsizing was a result of a 2021 directive to simplify and modernize Britain's armed forces, veteran and MP Richard Ford blamed substandard troop housing, while Defense Secretary Grant Shapps pointed out “silly” Ban on beard cultivation.
Army recruitment had only reached half its target for the April-March period as of last month, despite the army renewing its contract with recruitment firm Capita to bring in new soldiers and officers. Even professional headhunters were unable to meet their total headcount of 9,813 employees for 2023-24, and have only attracted around 5,000 employees since last April.
Capita's managing director, Richard Holroyd, recently complained to the Defense Select Committee that potential recruits had to wait 150 days to join because of burdensome medical requirements that turned away individuals with asthma, dental problems, dermatitis, and other minor conditions, when they should People with tattoos must provide photographs. For review by the Military Arbitration Committee.
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