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It has become something of a standing joke in the Gray household that whenever my children return home, whether from abroad or just from University or a festival, they wind me up about having a tattoo. I invariably turn puce - a shade that Farrow and Ball might describe as Cardiac Purple and the truth that it is just a hoax is eventually revealed to gales of laughter and much criticism of why I am "so out-of-touch."
In the news this week has been the question of whether the police should relax their recruiting restriction on "visible tattoos" and whether the public would have any less trust in a policeman or woman with the name of their girlfriend, boyfriend, dog or some mystical Asian character etched into their neck in technicolour. Evidently the fact that nearly a third of young people have tattoos is sufficient for the Police Federation to argue that potential "talent" is being lost.
Now I will not pretend to be an arbiter of what may or may not constitute "talent" but I do think that the Metropolitan Police commissioner may be correct in stating that "visible tattoos damage the professional image of the Metropolitan Police." When we recruit, we like to see people who define their individuality by the force of their personality. Ultimately, this attribute will probably last just as long as a tattoo but not fade and wither as they get older.