Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Case Of The Overweight Policeman


Within a few years on the job, some of the young perfectly toned and chiseled police men and women who leave Kiganjo turn into very unfit individuals who have trouble even getting out of their cars. This sad situation makes you wonder why they’re scrutinized so much for fitness before joining the forces only to pile on the pounds afterwards.


While how much weight one maintains is personal business, cops, as a matter of job description should not have the freedom to carry around weight that can stop or prevent them in any way from dispensing their duties. There’s a reason why they’re hired very fit and should be expected to work that way. Let’s face it; a downright obese cop is a problem as far as fighting crime is concerned. With an overflowing midriff, they’re unable to outrun agile, fit-as-a-fiddle miscreants some of whom are as young as 14 years of age. And what good is a cop who cannot run after criminals? Plus there is genuine concern that if a cop is unable to run after a suspect, he may be tempted to shoot. This however does not necessarily apply to our local cops who will shoot regardless.

Overweight policemen have over the years become a concern for most forces around the world and some countries have taken or are taking measures to keep the thin blue line actually thin. Different countries have used different mechanisms in the past. As recently as January this year Taiwan's National Police Administration launched a Police Run Club to help their cops drop the pounds. At the launch of the police weight loss program, dozens of running cops were led by none other than blind Kenyan runner Henry Wanyoike. Bangkok Metropolitan Police has embarked on a similar project in the past where the cops were put on a healthy diet and exercise. Mexico is considering giving their cops financial incentives of around $9.00 per every kilo lost. Cases abound where cops have opted or have been forced into doing desk work other than be in the streets because clearly they cannot run after thieves without the risk of collapsing. Like in Romania, overweight cops are given desk jobs or any other work that does not involve street patrol because they're seen to damage the image of the forces.

But it’s easier said. Excess weight is a difficult problem to tackle because it’s neither criminal nor disciplinary. And it’s tricky to discuss without appearing to cast aspersions at the person. Calling on a person to lose weight for for whatever purposes let alone official can elicit a lot of raw emotions and maybe even human rights issues. Nobody is asking for police departments full of Arnold Schwarzeneggers but if the problem gets bigger, something definitely needs to be done. Life is hard enough for our cops without being asked to maintain that svelte figure but one should make the effort to ensure they’re not a liability to their employers.

12 Comments:

Girl In the Meadow said...

That ka-pot belly is called public opinion. There was a time police simply abdicated their duties and just took bribes on traffic. I agree the police force should be for the lean.

Good to hear our our own runner being hired to run with cops why can't they do the same in Kenya?

sandrabbw said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
31337 said...

it should be common sense, no? unfortunately no, perhaps there should be fitness tests periodically to ensure that those who need to be trim to be able to perform their duties are, and it is in their own, personal, best interest to stay healthy, right?

Shiko-Msa said...

Girl in the meadow ati Public opinion Lol. Traffic police I guess are the worst. Just standing and collecting cash and then probably going for nyama choma and beer. No wonder the public opinion! Narcotics are no better but I guess they're just not visible enough so we don't see them.

Sandra this article is about Cops. Policemen.

Intelligensia common sense is not so common of late. Those fitness tests are done only on recruitment and nobody bothers any more. Too bad.

kirima said...

The challenge of a healthy living should be extended to all proffesions. I will not be one to throw stones at policemen haveing to battle with a BMI problems myself but when it hampers the effectiveness of your job there is a problem. incentives such as those ones are good but we must avoid labelling.

Shiko-Msa said...

Yeah Kirima it's a tricky situation like I said. It's not easy to ask someone to cut weight for official purposes. Or for any other purpose in fact. It may seem intrusive and holier than thou.

But for any profession that requires fitness as a prerequisite, then the applicants should remain fit through the job. What if you're employed to do a job and then you cant do it?

Anonymous said...

coruption is the coz of all this wanakula sana chapa, food na beer just look how big our traffic police men are my take on this is corruption goes hand in hand with big bellies especially in our police stations and goverment offices

Shiko-Msa said...

True Anon. Just a few days ago the police force was put right at the top of the list of most corrupt. Kwanza traffic.

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Mcheku said...

I completely agree with the authors opinion, hakuna cha holier than thou things!

Our police men are expected to be fit, when we send our children for recruitment there they are made to do all sorts of things including stripping and all those running exercises just so that they can be proven to be fit. Those pot bellies they are ferrying around obviously curtail their freedom of movement and the requisite activities!

I would suggest that there be a periodic weight check conducted for all of them and those above a certain weight be made to go home, like is the case in the modelling industry. Coz seriously, if they are not doing what they are required to do, why are we paying them?

Shiko-Msa said...

ehe Mcheku thanks for saying it as it is. Sometimes I measure my words especially on the main page but that's exactly what I meant.

It's like being an accountant who can no longer do the maths. Can he still expect to stay in employment and get paid?

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

That guy can't even run for his life. Thankfully, bullets are faster.