One of the minor losses to the coronavirus pandemic in Langley has been the new beards some local Mounties had been sporting.
For decades, RCMP officers had faced strict limits on facial hair while in service. Moustaches had to be regulation, and beards were strictly forbidden.
That changed in the summer of 2019, when a policy change allowed neatly groomed beards and goatees of between 0.5 and 2.5 cm in length and bulk.
The update was the first to the grooming policy since 1975.
But the need for personal protective equipment has overridden the beard rules, according to Supt. Murray Power, head of the Langley RCMP detachment.
Officers are now equipped with either P-100 respirator masks or N-95 masks to use on calls when they have to be in close contact with people, either for medical help or an arrest.
That means that some officers have had to trim their beards.
“There’s a fit test, they test the seal around the edges,” said Power.
He joked that it has made the members of Langley detachment look a little more youthful.
“They look 10 years younger,” he said of the newly clean-shaven officers.