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Scotland Yard bans visible tattoos on officers, says pre-existing tattoos must be registered

Scotland Yard has banned its officers from sporting visible tattoos, saying it damages the professional image of Britain's top police force.

The force confirmed in a statement Wednesday that the Metropolitan Police will no longer permit tattoos on the face, hands or which appear above the collar line. It said all other tattoos must be covered.

Scotland Yard said that officers who already have visible tattoos — will be required to "register" those tattoos in writing to their managers by Nov. 12 or face disciplinary actions for gross misconduct.

The force previously had prohibited tattoos deemed offensive to religion or beliefs or that could be construed as violent or intimidating.