Tanzania Interior Minister George Boniface Taguluvala Simbachawene has instructed the country’s Inspector General of police Simon Sirro to assign Pot-Bellied Police manning traffic different duties as they are not fit for the job.
The Minister observed that the officers were being moved as they were no ‘longer qualified to be on the road’.
The minister was speaking at a Road Safety Symposium held in Dodoma organised by the Civil Society Organizations that promotes the amendment of the Road Safety Act of 1973.
“There are officers working in our traffic department who need to be moved as they no longer qualify, officers in Gairo are pot-bellied, how can you have a pot-belly and you are a traffic officer, I direct the IGP to re-assign these officers to other duties,”he said.
Meanwhile, he warned traffic police officers who have been accused of soliciting for bribes from motorists saying the law would catch up with them soon.
Tanzania’s announcement can be related to a previous law in Iran that outlined that all officers with pot-bellies and overweight to be relieved from frontline duties and moved to lower ranks in the police force
In 2018, Pakistan made the news after a police commander Habibur Rehman ordered all pot-bellied traffic police officers “to go on a diet immediately.”
Those who were not willing to go on a weight-loss dieting regimen were warned they would be moved from frontline duties.
The police boss in Pakistan’s most populous province Punjab, ordered 175,000 personnel not to allow their waistlines to exceed 38 inches (96 cm).
“Overweight officers are ineffective and “cannot chase bandits, robbers and other criminals properly”, he said.
In Kenya, a traffic officer with a pot-belly is at times assumed to be corrupt and is also deemed to have more experience in taking bribes from the members of the public.
Police officers are always very slender when they join the forces but within a year or two, their bellies start growing a situation that affects their service delivery.
If you’re trying to become a police officer, you may be wondering: is it really that important to be physically fit?
The short answer is: Yes, being physically fit is very important to your success as a police officer. Here’s why.
You want to be in a field that serves the public, the public has the right to expect that the people who have taken an oath to serve and protect actually have the physical ability to do so.
Your ability to perform the essential functions of a police officer is directly affected by your underlying fitness level.
To put it simply, people who are physically fit:
are better able to respond when called to do so
can perform more work with less effort
are less likely to suffer injury during physically demanding activities
experience faster recovery following physical exertion
All four factors are key to being able to handle the physical demands of the training academy and are essential for someone who is hoping to work in public safety.
People are drawn to public safety work because it offers an alternative to the 9-to-5 job. The unpredictability and thrill of being on the front line often draws people to this career, but that comes with a responsibility.
Police officers must be prepared to take immediate physical action with little or no warning, no time to warm up or stretch out before they have to respond to a call. Your ability to respond to the situation at hand is essential, and it is what officers are paid to do.