Crackdown On Organised Crime In The Tattoo Industry

Minister for Police Michael Gallacher and Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts have announced the introduction of new licensing requirements for the tattoo industry.

 From today all body art tattoo artists and parlour owners must apply for a three year licence.

 All licences, which will be regulated by NSW Fair Trading and authorised by the NSW Police Commissioner, must be either in place or in the process of being assessed by 1 October 2013.

 “The new licensing requirements highlight the NSW Government’s commitment to stamp out organised crime and outlaw motorcycle gang links to the tattoo industry,” Mr Gallacher said.

 “This important reform will reduce the level of violent crime associated with tattoo parlours and significantly boost the power of NSW Police to target criminal operations which use tattoo parlours as a front for money laundering and illicit drug distribution,” Minister Gallacher said.

 Mr Roberts said the new licensing requirements will support legitimate operators by removing criminal elements from the industry.

 “The time has come for tattoo artists and tattoo parlour operators to prove they are fit and proper persons to continue operating,” Mr Roberts said.

 From 1 October 2013 it will be against the law to perform a body art tattoo procedure for a fee or reward without a licence, or to conduct a body art tattooing business without a licence.

 Acting Commissioner Nick Kaldas said the NSW Police Force is determined to clean up the tattoo industry. 

 “All applicants will be required to attend a police station to have their finger and palm prints taken and to verify their identity documents. NSW Police will run an intelligence check and examine the person’s criminal history before granting a licence,” Mr Kaldas said.

 Successful applicants must collect their licence card in person from a Roads & Maritime Services registry, following the supply of appropriate identity documents.

 Applicants for an operator licence will be required to submit a detailed declaration disclosing all close associates, including employees, contractors and persons with a financial stake in the business. Copies of three forms of certified ID from those people will also be required.

 The cost of an individual tattoo artist’s licence will be $699 for three years. An operator licence will cost $2,094 for the same period.

 “All licence holders must reapply for a fresh licence every three years and operators must display their licensing certificate in a visible location on the business premises,” Minister Gallacher said.

 “NSW Police and Fair Trading have the power to enter a tattoo parlour without a search warrant to ensure compliance with the regulations,” Minister Gallacher said

 “Corporations caught operating without a licence after 1 October 2013 face an $11,000 fine plus a further $11,000 for each day the corporation continues to operate without a licence,” Mr Roberts said.

 “Individual tattoo parlour operators will be fined $5,500 for trading without a licence plus a further $5,500 for each day the operator continues to trade without a licence.

 “Unlicensed individual tattoo artists will receive a one-off fine of $5,500. However, for any subsequent offences related to trading without a licence, an $11,000 fine will apply,” Mr Roberts said.

 Visiting tattoo artists from interstate will be required to hold a valid licence to perform body art tattooing procedures in NSW, while tattoo artists visiting from overseas must apply for a $200 temporary permit. An individual will not be granted more than two permits in any given year.

 From 1 October 2013, permits will also be required for individuals or organisations holding events or exhibitions which involve body art tattooing procedures. The seven-day permit will range in cost from $400 to $900 depending on the number of participants.

 Businesses that provide only cosmetic and medical tattooing services are not subject to the new licensing regulations.