This morning News Limited reported of a move by Victorian Deputy Premier Ryan that gave Police Chief Commissioner, Ken Lay, “unambiguous authority to determine grooming standards for the force.” Based upon the claims that men with beards and long hair “diminish public trust.”
The amendment bill, to be implemented from January 1, 2013, decrees that all male members of the police force are to “have short haircuts and no facial hair.” While religious, cultural and medical exemptions apply, Mr Lay emphasised the importance of officer’s appearances in promoting public trust.
The proposed changes has already prompted some mixed responses from both inside the police force and even the State Government, with Labor MP Gavin Jennings telling News LTD he did not feel his beard hurt his credibility but was not willing to back police fighting to keep their facial hair.
The musically inclined, such as ourselves, were left instantly wondering: ‘What would Adelaide folk-rock act The Beards think of all this?”
As it turns out, the purveyors of music based solely on the virtue of having a beard have unsurprisingly taken issue with Commissioner Lay’s stance. The writers of such hits as “You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man” and “If Your Dad Doesn’t Have A Beard, You’ve Got Two Mums” highlighted the issue on their Facebook account earlier today.
Then, in a press release from the band’s manager, Chelsea Sinnott, issued late this afternoon – The Beards call the Police Chief out on his “blatant and outright discriminatory wish to see beards banned.” The full press release reads:
Victorian Police Chief Ken Lay’s crusade against the beard looks one step closer to coming into fruition. His blatant and outright discriminatory wish to see beards (and less importantly tattoos and moustaches) banned for all officers in the Victorian Police Force has received backing from members of the almost-entirely beardless State Government. The one MP brave enough to have a beard, Gavin Jennings, has shown that that’s where his bravery ends, and is towing the line.
We the bearded, publicly condemn Ken Lay and ask that he stand down immediately from his position as Victorian Police Chief Commissioner. It is our view that Mr Lay would be better fitted to front a Victorian-era Police Force rather than being in charge of policing a democratic state In Australia in the year of 2012.
We encourage all members of the Victorian Police Force, and also people everywhere, to grow beards in protest. We see what Ken Lay is trying to do and we will not be held down. He may not be able to grow a beard, but we can.
In regards to his ability to grow or not grow a beard, Ken Lay was unavailable for comment.
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