Why Kenya Police Do Not Recruit Short People

June 30, 2023

The National Police Service Commission has explained why the service does not recruit short people to serve as law enforcers.

Appearing before the Standing Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity, and Regional Integration, Commission CEO Peter Leley clarified that the rationale behind not recruiting individuals of shorter stature was based on the perception that they may be deemed less capable of engaging with and arresting criminals.

Leley was responding to a question from Committee Chair Mohamed Chute who wanted to know why short people are turned away during recruitment exercises.

“With due respect to short people and I am not saying they cannot do the job, taller people are seen as capable of executing an arrest. They are able to pin down a criminal as they are also heavier. How do you expect a 1GB person to pin down a heavyweight,” the Commission CEO posed.

Leley further elaborated that in line with the reasoning behind not recruiting shorter individuals, they have also established a minimum weight requirement for aspiring candidates seeking to join the police service.

During the recruitment process, male candidates are required to have a minimum height of 5.8 feet, while female candidates must have a minimum height of 5.3 feet. In addition, the minimum weight requirements are 54.55 kilograms for men and 50 kilograms for women.

Furthermore, it is explicitly stated that female candidates should not be pregnant at the time of recruitment or throughout the entire duration of their training.

“Most criminals are strong such that they can even fight off citizen arrest. They are people who can put up a fight with a crowd and that is why we need heavily built officers,” Leley said.

Uasin Gishu senator Jackson Mandago opined that height and weight should not be criteria to recruit youth into the Directorate Criminal Investigation.

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