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WIGAN police officers have banned from having designer stubble.

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Peter Fahy, has laid down the law after noticing increasing numbers coming into work with a trendy five o’clock shadow.

Mr Fahy revealed GMP’s policy during a web chat with people from the region.

When asked how more and more officers had stubble ‘as though it is fashionable’, Mr Fahy replied: “We expect our officers to maintain high standards of dress and professional appearance and there are reminders in our police stations. Facial hair is meant to be tidy and I agree that stubble is fine for socialising but a shave is required before coming on duty.”

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GMP’s rules on facial hair state that well-trimmed beards and moustaches are allowed but stubble is forbidden.

Mr Fahy led a review of the force’s policy on uniform and appearance last year, which resulted in a 28-page document. It said: ‘How we appear and present ourselves can have a major positive or negative impact on our ability to influence others and thus carry out our work’.

Managers were ordered to ‘take action’ if the rules were flouted.

The policy banned offensive tattoos, although body art is acceptable, as long as it is covered from public view.

It said hair should be neat, not touch the collar and ‘un-natural colours which could cause ridicule’ were also banned.

Mr Fahy’s policy states facial hair ‘should complement the wearer in a way that instils confidence, credibility and respect’.

It adds: “Pencil line beards, for example, are unlikely to meet these criteria.”

Officers whose religion requires un-trimmed beards must wear beard nets, says the policy, which also warns that officers who drastically change their appearance would need a new warrant card.

One senior police source said: “The rules are clear but it is routinely ignored by many officers and rarely challenged by supervising ranks.”

Chris Burrows, from the Greater Manchester branch of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: “The main things is that officers are smart, presentable and provide a service to the public.

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