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People with tattoos can be police officers under new police recruitment rules

Police officers stand in line to prevent protesters' possible access to Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul on Oct. 9. (Yonhap)
Police officers stand in line to prevent protesters' possible access to Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul on Oct. 9. (Yonhap)
People with tattoos can become police officers, as long as the tattoos are covered by their uniforms and are not repulsive, under revised rules on police recruitment.

Until now, the police have judged whether a tattoo on an officer candidate was appropriate based on the “motive of the procedure, meaning and size of the tattoo.”

Under revised rules, however, the National Police Agency will look at what the tattoos express, and if they show when the uniform is worn.

“Tattoos will be OK unless they are violent, offensive or arouse sexual humiliation, are offensive to a certain race, religion, nationality or political beliefs, arouse images of crime or tarnish the image of police officers,” an NPA official said.

“If the tattoos don’t show on a candidate’s face, neck, arms or legs when wearing a police uniform, he or she can pass the physical exam.”

A regulatory reform committee under the Office for Government Policy Coordination had recommended police in 2016 improve tattoo-related rules on physical examinations by this year.

The NPA will begin applying the revised criteria from next year after hearing public opinion on the change by Dec. 3 and going through police committee deliberation.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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