The Council of State has endorsed the regulations of the Civil Guard prohibiting officers from displaying tattoos on head, necks and hands. This same regulation regulates that agents can have tattoos, as long as they respect constitutional values and are not displayed on the aforementioned parts of the body. The Council of State sees “prudent” the term of one year to eliminate the prohibited tattoos and defends that the appearance of the agent cannot “mislead” so that it does not compromise the “legal security” in the attention to the citizen.
«The Council of State understands that the duties of the Civil Guards as agents of authority are contrary to displaying tattoos in certain areas of first visibility (face, neck, hands), which can negatively affect the image of the Civil Guard, and may seem strange and even indecorous to citizens, in addition to being counterproductive for the performance of certain investigative services, “says the resolution.
The opinion includes a private vote and supports the Royal Decree that regulates the general use of the uniform since “Does not appreciate that a violation of fundamental rights can be found” and it also complies with the legal requirements, including meeting the requirements of the Royal Ordinances of the Armed Forces.
The Council of State refers to a report made by the Technical Cabinet of the Civil Guard that maintains that certain criminal organizations use the Corps uniforms to carry out criminal activities and that “until not long ago the tattoo culture was linked to prison or criminal environments».
“They are personal distinctions that could put at risk the legal security of the acting force upon being identified,” he highlights to later recognize that there is “evolution to a new social reality to which the Civil Guard cannot be shown to be alien.” Therefore, this rule, according to the ruling, can “prohibit the presentation of tattoos on the hands, head and neck”.
The norm prohibits any type of tattoo contrary to constitutional values or that calls into question the political and union neutrality of the Civil Guard. The Unified Association of Civil Guards (AUGC) presented its complaint to the Council of State for a period of one year to eliminate those visible inscriptions on the neck, hands and arms, alleging that “it may imply the need to undergo an intervention that may lead to serious health risks, in addition to the cost it represents ”.
One year to eliminate them
The majority union of agents focused its criticism on a transitory provision of the norm that states that any civil guard who has tattoos on hands, neck or head “must hide them completely when they wear the uniform, granting a period of one year for their complete elimination. ».
The Council of State ensures that the one year is ‘prudent and broad’ to remove prohibited tattoos without “overflowing the regulatory authority or contrary to pre-existing or fundamental rights.” However, it considers that this criterion should not be applied to the selection process already started in the Civil Guard this year and, in this way, “avoid any kind of doubt about the applicability of the new ordinance.”
For this reason, this body proposes an alternative text for the provision, in such a way that it collects that “it will be applicable both to active personnel and to those who at the date of its publication are participating in selective access tests.” The private opinion, signed by José Luis Manzanares Samaniego, precisely stops on this aspect: “The question is to determine what to do as long as the tattoo has not been removed.”