Griffith: Space for short men in police service

Men seeking careers in the police file into the Police Training Academy in St James in January. - File photo by Roger Jacob
Men seeking careers in the police file into the Police Training Academy in St James in January. - File photo by Roger Jacob

FORMER police commissioner Gary Griffith says there is a role in the police service for short men.

On Thursday, High Court judge Justice Robin Mohammed awarded $400,000 in damages to Renaldo Maharaj whose application to the TTPS was denied in 2020 as he did not meet the existing height stipulation of 167 cm or 5 ft 5.7 inches.

Mohammed said the height requirement in police service regulation 3(1)(f) was in violation of section 4 of the Trinidad and Tobago Constitution which speaks to equality of treatment and he ordered the commissioner to reopen applications towards recruiting 1,000 officers.

Griffith, the political leader of the National Transformation Alliance in a media release on February 10, described the requirement as discriminatory and said many police officers nowadays do not need to meet specific height requirements.

“This is because they are part of units such as cyber crime, gender-based violence, social media monitoring, and fraud,” he said.

“Others are not tasked with being on the streets because they are involved in online reporting, monitoring the police app, taking 999 calls, forensic, DNA, and ballistic testing, as well as working in information technology.”

National Transformation Alliance political leader and former commissioner of police Gary Griffith. - File photo

Griffith said there is also no need for specialised officers participating in undercover and covert operations to meet a height requirement.

He said specialised police units require highly qualified individuals to effectively operate adding, “Limiting the recruitment of individuals based on their height can adversely affect the overall performance of the police service.”

Griffith said similar rules in countries around the world have “been abandoned due to its inefficacy and unjust nature.”

He added other jurisdictions understand the value of having qualified individuals who possess talent in specific fields regardless of their height.

He said even if there is a height restriction, exceptions should be made for individuals who have the capability and qualifications required for these specialised units.

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds suggested on Friday the state is likely to appeal the ruling.

“In my view as a citizen, you want when you post an officer in a crowded he could be seen, and not only seen by the person standing immediately next to him. So there is a height requirement. And for good reason,” the minister said.


"Griffith: Space for short men in police service"

More in this section