Hairnets could return at Met Police as women officers told to smarten up

·2 min read
Dame Lynne Owens says: 'Standards matter in my view as they link directly to how the public see us' - David Mirzoeff/PA wire
Dame Lynne Owens says: 'Standards matter in my view as they link directly to how the public see us' - David Mirzoeff/PA wire

Hairnets could return for women police officers at Scotland Yard, an incoming police chief has suggested, as she called for an end to an “inconsistency” in hairstyles.

Dame Lynne Owens, who is due to take over as deputy commissioner at the force next month, indicated that standards of dress for both men and women would be given new focus.

The former head of the National Crime Agency (NCA) is joining under Sir Mark Rowley, the new commissioner, as part of a major leadership overhaul aimed at restoring public confidence.

A prolific tweeter, Dame Lynne posted a picture of a pair of smart leather shoes and hairnets, writing:

Dame Lynne wrote that “inconsistency” would be the “kindest word” to describe how women officers currently wear their hair.

It comes after Dame Lynne - who was the first woman to head the NCA, known as Britain’s FBI - was appointed to the Metropolitan Police on an interim basis to help revive fortunes of the scandal-hit force.

In a statement released at the time, she promised to “renew policing by consent with less crime, higher standards and more trust” after the force was placed in special measures for a series of misconduct and racism scandals, as well as a failure to investigate offences.

Her post about the importance of officer appearance acknowledged that there was a “long” list of other priorities, but said of the link between uniform standards and effective police service:

Last month, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police said he had made smart appearance a central plank of his efforts to turn the embattled force into one of the fastest improving.

Officers were told by Stephen Watson to shave off their designer stubble and polish their boots in a “back to basics” plan, ordered after the police chief found “cheap” kit left them appearing scruffy and unprofessional.

Echoing his words this week, Dame Lynne said: “Being clear on the uniform standard and sticking to it should be simple.”