Page 7 - issue17.05.2019
P. 7

Royal Air Force News Friday,May 17, 2019 P7


        RAF ink


         Tattoo rules relaxed

         to make Forces more

         attractive to Millenials

          Staff Reporter              outright ban will still be applied to  the  exception  of  a  single  finger
          THE RAF  is relaxing its  all tattoos which are considered to  tattoo which may be covered by
          hardline policy on tattoos  be offensive or crude.      a ring.
          to make the Service more      The move comes as UK Forces   Cosmetic eyebrow tattooing
          attractive to one in five Brits  battle with civvy street employers  is permitted if it follows the
          who now have body art.      for the best recruits and close a  natural  line  of  the  brow,  are
            While there is no ban on  growing skills gap in some of the  symmetrical and natural in
          tattoos which are not on display,  military’s technical trades.  shape and colouring.
          under the new rules airmen and   According  to  recent survey,   Tattoos will be allowed on
          women will be allowed to sport  more than one in five Brits has at  the  side and back of the  neck,
          neck and eyebrow tattoos for the  least one tattoo while the figure  provided they are not visible
          first time.                 is even higher in the military.  from the front when wearing
            Personnel will also be able to   The new regulations state that  No.2A uniform. Tattoos will not
          have a single finger tattoo that can  tattoos on the hands and fingers  be allowed to extend beyond the
          be concealed by a ring, while the  will still be prohibited with  natural hairline.

       THE   ANNOUNCEMENT       has  your job. I think the RAF should go
       received a mixed reaction for the  a bit further with this. Tattoos are so                 No pain no gain
       Services tattoo sporting population.   commonplace these days. I don’t have
         Cpl Fran Gavin who is based at  any friends in the Service who don’t have
       Marham as a dog handler said: “I got my  them.
       first tattoo when I was 17. It was some   “When I was commissioned                         SQN LDR  Stewart Green spent  between appointments but I didn’t
       lyrics from a song. It is awful and   another officer told me                              thousands having the tattoos  finish the whole lot as I got my
       I wish I hadn’t had it but it was      that he thought it wasn’t                           he  got as a  16-year-old Army  commission.
       an act of rebellion.                     professional for women                            recruit removed when he took up   “I have always been committed
         “I’ve had a few since                   to even have tattoos.                            a commission as an intelligence  to the Services and I would have
       then. I have a full sleeve                That made me really                              officer with the RAF.          done whatever needed to be done to
       which features figures                    angry.”                                            He said: I joined the                get in.
       from  Norse mythology                        SAC Alex Barnes,                              army at 16 and had a                      “Society has changed.
       –  my family are  from                    28, is a mover at Brize                          tribal pattern done in                 We obviously have to
       Denmark.                                  Norton. She said: “My.   I INK THEREFORE I AM: Cpl Fran Gavin  Germany. It was done     maintain  standards  but
         “I can cover my tattoos                First tattoo was an eight                         by a bloke with a bottle               you have to move with
       and that is the way I prefer it.       ball which I got done when  doing my Phase 1 training at Halton. My  of whisky in his hand.  the times and the Armed
       If I am in my Number 1 kit I don’t   I was a teenager. Since   friend and I both decided to get the same   “I served in the Army   Forces have to reflect
       want them on display.           then I have had quite a few.    blue gecko design on an impulse.  for 10 years before             society.
         “I think you have to move with   “Despite that I don’t           “I have also got one with the  taking a commission in             “Offensive  tattoos
       the times. They are more socially and  think that we should be    name of the Guaba beach bar in  the RAF. I was advised          should  always  be  a  no-
       culturally acceptable today. It doesn’t  relaxing the rules. It sounds   Limassol I was fond of which I  to get rid of them for selection.  go but blocking someone who got
       mean that you are a criminal or a sailor.”  like pandering to popular   got when I was at Akrotiri.  “I opted for laser surgery at  some ink during a gap year holiday
         Flt  Lt Jordine Deveraeau  is  culture and trends.                “I think changing the rules is a  a Harley Street practice. It was  or something like that is a bit harsh.
       currently on a posting to Gibraltar in the   “I have a tattoo on the   good thing if it allows people with  about £300 a go and I had about 10   “It’s all about perception and it
       Flight Operations section. She said: “I  back of my neck which could   SAC Alex Barnes  tattoos to join up.  sessions.    doesn’t have the stigma it once did.
       got two roses to represent my two sisters  have been a problem for me   “I am quite old school though.   “They used a ruby laser which  I am a huge advocate for the Forces
       when I was 18.                but fortunately it can be covered by my  When you are in uniform you are in  basically burns them off. It feels like  and have done a lot of recruitment.
         “Since then I have got eight more and  shirt collar.       uniform and I don’t think our people  having hot elastic bands tied round   “I  would  recommend  the
       all of them have significance to my life.  “Rules are rules. If you don’t like it -  should have them above the neckline.  your arms.   military career to everyone – even if
         “I think the rules should have been  don’t join up”          “I am in two minds really. You   “It burns and breaks down the  it is just for a few years. It doesn’t
       relaxed a while ago.            Sgt Rachel Robertson is an Air  should be able to express yourself with  ink. My whole arm was blistered  seem fair to deny a good recruit
         “Having  a  tattoo  does  not  say  Traffic Controller at Shawbury. She said:  your tattoos as long as it isn’t crude or  and I kept it wrapped in cling film.  the chance to serve because of a
       anything about how well you can do  “I got my first tattoo when I was 19 and  offensive.   I had to wait three or four weeks  tattoo.”
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