By Constantinos Psillides
No pony tails, long hair or beards for those who protect and serve, says Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou and Cyprus’ police top ranking officers, after rejecting an Ombudswoman’s report asking that the police dress code be updated to allow more flexibility.
According to the police press and information office, the ministry decided to leave the dress code as it was, despite being established decades ago.
The current dress code for male officers calls for short hair – shaving one’s head is also allowed – and as far as facial hair is concerned, a moustache is the only thing permitted. The only male police officers excluded from the dress code are those who are undercover.
Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou said in her report that the dress code is archaic and that it violated a police officer’s ‘natural rights’.
The Ombudswoman report was prompted by a complaint filed by an officer who is on ‘retirement leave’ and opposed the strict dress code regulation.
The complaint was lodged almost ten years ago and since then the police officer has gone on a leave of absence until his retirement. Although not common, some police officers do not take any holidays and save them up in order to ‘retire’ ahead of time on full pay. Sometimes this leave can amount to years before actual retirement.
The police officer, according to the report, argued that a well-groomed appearance had nothing to do with regulations. The Ombudswoman noted that the dress code regulation did not reflect modern values and that it was set up in a time when short hair and a moustache were signs of masculinity.
The highest echelons within the police have looked into other EU countries dress code regulations and found that a strict policy is also followed and decided to leave the dress code regulation as it is.