And finally… rough justice



A Northern Ireland policeman who refused to shave his beard has been awarded £10,000 by an employment tribunal.

Constable Gordon Downey had been transferred from an armed response unit after refusing to abide by a policy that officers be clean-shaven.

It was argued on behalf of the PSNI that his facial hair would interfere with breathing apparatus officers in the unit are equipped with.

He shaved his beard down to a moustache but this was still deemed unacceptable.

An expert at the tribunal said that he would need “a moustache like a walrus” for it to cause a problem with the mask.

The tribunal unanimously agreed that he had suffered discrimination contrary to the Sex Discrimination (NI) Order 1976.

Speaking to BBC News NI, Constable Downey said: “The policy itself, which was first introduced in 2017, was being enforced against men under health and safety grounds, yet females within our unit had hair in contravention of the same policy — not facial hair but head hair, where there was a grab risk.

“The policy was being enforced against men, not against female officers.

“As an older person with a receding hairline and alopecia who is slightly overweight, all I can do is grow a bit of fur on my top lip. To have that removed for absolutely no reason is wrong.”