- Former Ministry of Defence policeman with unblemished record banned
- Claims he was told that the image was ‘religious’ and could be offensive
- He now plans to sue the force, citing religious discrimination
A former Ministry of Defence policeman with an unblemished record has been banned from joining the regular force because of this tattoo of a ‘Crusader’ knight on his arm
A former Ministry of Defence policeman with an unblemished record has been banned from joining the regular force because of a tattoo of a ‘Crusader’ knight on his arm.
The 33-year-old, who quit his MoD role as an armed counter-terrorism officer because of declining eyesight, claims he was told by Sussex Police that the image was ‘religious’ and could be offensive.
He now plans to sue the force, citing religious discrimination. The force denied the image was seen as religious, with a spokesman describing it as violent and partisan.
The tattoo on the man’s upper left arm is of a medieval knight in full armour, displaying a cross of St George and holding a sword.
The symbol was at the centre of controversy last week when England football fans were warned they could upset Muslims if they dressed as Crusaders during Euro 2016 because the costumes recalled medieval holy wars in the Middle East.
The man, who does not want to be named, branded the police’s decision ‘ridiculous political correctness’, adding: ‘I consider myself English and Christian, and as such portraying a knight from England’s past should not be a problem.’
In an email sent to him after he was rejected, the Sussex force referred to a section on their website that included ‘religious content’ as one of the criteria used to judge if tattoos were offensive.
Former Minister Lord Tebbit said: ‘Evidence of an attachment to British values or to Christianity is clearly unacceptable these days.’
The force said it followed Home Office guidelines and referred to its website that said images deemed aggressive or offensive – including those showing ‘weapons, religious content, gang affiliation, drugs, aggressive animals, skulls etc’ – would probably lead to rejection.