The guidelines state: “Tattoos visible on your forearms or visible in an open collared/short sleeve are not considered appropriate for those in public facing roles and must be covered.
“If you have tattoos you will need to make a declaration at the time of application. We will ask you to send in two digital pictures of each tattoo. Please note you must declare ALL tattoos, whether visible in uniform or not.
“One distance photograph clearly showing where on the above body area the tattoo is located and a second close up photograph that we can use to assess this against our standards.”
In 2017 the College of Policing issued new guidelines intended to relax the rules around visible tattoos in the police.
With almost a third of young people having inked designs on their bodies, there was concern that bans in the police was affecting recruitment.
The Police Federation, which represents 120,000 rank and file officers, also expressed concern that different policies being adopted across the country was making it difficult for people to transfer between forces.
In 2012, the then Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, ordered that all visible tattoos must be covered up while on duty claiming they damaged the professional image of the Met.
But last year that policy was relaxed under the current Commissioner, Cressida Dick, who said the ban on visible tattoos was putting many young people off joining.
Officers joining the South Yorkshire force are also barred from having any facial or tongue piercings.