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Personal appearance


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Saw this in another forum,

daftandbarmy said:
Meanwhile, Canadians seem to have a say about the RCMP:

"Research suggests that grooming and appearance features (e.g., facial hair, visible tattoos, dishevelled clothing) can negatively impact opinions of professionalism and trustworthiness," says an internal document.

It's just my opinion, but I absolutely believe that to be true.

Nothing new about surveys like about emergency services across North America. Any ones I have read over the years come to that same conclusion.

Emergency services have seconds to make a positive first impression with people dialing for help. Especially important when entering their homes.

That is likely why the services spend a considerable amount of energy and effort to maintain a positive image in the community.

Another reason is, it is the people in the community who encourage their politicians to vote against lay-offs, and support strong pay and benefit packages.

Something else to take into consideration is the union arbitration process.

eg:  In the city I served, there was a landmark arbitration regarding grooming standards the year I hired on. The arbitrator sided with a Scarborough ( amalgamated with Toronto in 1998 ) Fire Captain who faced a 30-day demotion for refusing to trim his sideburns that were parallel to the top of his earlobe.

The District Chief ordered him to shave them off. He did, under protest, and then launched a grievance with the union.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board ( OLRB ) arbitrator ruled, "as long as the employee performs the job or work for which he has been hired, the employer has no authority to impose his personal views of appearance or dress upon the employee."

This quote from another forum reminded me of this arbitration, "I'm not sure a goatee or earrings, on any gender, will affect operational efficiencies."

This was a landmark arbitration, and had an impact on grooming standards Metro-wide in the decades that followed.



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That's OK, Mariomike: In the CAF we don't need to make a positive first impression on ISIS or Taliban ... only an everlasting one.  ;D

Seriously, though. Considering the fact that the members of the CF are allowed to go in public looking like walking garbage bags in combat uniforms, I don't think our political masters are too concerned with good first impressions.

Besides, as we said before, the current standard for men has not always been the one we use right now - and the world did not come to an end when we wore clean, but much longer hair and yes, in some cases earrings (it was acceptable in seamen up to PO, i.e. as long as you wore the square rig).
Oldgateboatdriver said:
That's OK, Mariomike: In the CAF we don't need to make a positive first impression on ISIS or Taliban ... only an everlasting one.  ;D

OGBD, as probationary employees, we came under the watchful eyes of the old ( they were in their forties by then ) post-war era vets who were big on, and instilled with, military values.

By then, I had already been in the PRes for a couple of years. Although they were from my father's generation, some of their values were not entirely new to me.

But, it wasn't that. The barometer I used was simply if people, especially those of my grand-parents generation, were going to feel comfortable with me coming into their homes.

I understood "operational efficiency" was of primary importance. But, most of us also understood that there was more to it.

Those who didn't, usually had short, unhappy careers.

I’ll  follow and enforce the rules as they are until they change.  When they change I’ll follow and enforce those ones.

It’s really not that hard. 

How I feel about them now or later is and will be irrelevant.
There's been all sorts of studies of public perceptions of grooming standards in the emergency services over the years,

In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a “paramilitary” image of uniformed public employees, and found that hairstyle regulations do not violate the federal constitution.

Here in Canada,


Public Perceptions of Police Grooming Standards

This study was designed to assess current public attitudes toward police officer grooming. Questionnaires were mailed to 7 randomly selected groups of 200 citizens in British Columbia, Canada. Each questionnaire was accompanied by a computer-manipulated photo of a police officer exhibiting one of six selected grooming standards, such as a shaved head, goatee, pierced ear, full beard, shaved head with goatee, and no distinguishing grooming feature. Respondents were asked to rate the pictured officer in terms of eight qualities: knowledge of the law, reliability, being objective, trustworthiness, concern for the public, hardworking, courtesy, and fairness. The results indicate that the general public does not support relaxed grooming standards and suggest that there are several negative consequences of officers being allowed to deviate from conservative grooming standards. Respondents believed that relaxing standards would erode confidence in the police, especially in terms of respect, trust, and pride. Grooming policies should remain in place until more conclusive evidence suggests otherwise.


See also,

Grooming and Appearance Rules for Public Safety Workers:
Tattoos, Piercings, Jewelry, Dental Ornamentation, Cosmetics

US Police Grooming Standards:
"Police officials are obliged to follow a series of strict regulations in order to maintain the high status, promote safety, show discipline and evoke a strong feeling of respect and admiration in the public. In this case appearance is key role of promoting authority, and so the importance of uniforms and proper grooming for police officials is great."

McCormack, William U. United States of America. National Institute of Justice. Grooming and Weight Standards for Law Enforcement: The Legal Issues. Rockville: NCJRS paper reproduction, 1994. Print.

Paul N. Tinsley, Darryl Plecas, and Gregory S. Anderson, “Studying Public Perceptions of Police Grooming Standards,” The Police Chief 70 (November 2003): 42–45.