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No make-up, nail polish allowed for female police officers


Regional police commanders could soon be forced to spend some of their crime-busting time monitoring their female juniors to avoid the wrath of their Vigilance House managers, who say some female officers have been bending dress code rules.

Deputy Inspector-General Edward Mbugua has threatened to take disciplinary action against female police officers who dress inappropriately while on duty or apply heavy make-up. Mr Mbugua also warns against fancy hairstyles and accessories. He issued a similar directive last December.

The directive bans long braids, flashy weaves, huge afros and other hairstyles that either hamper wearing of safety gear or go beyond the facial features stated in the rule book.

In 2014 an image of police officer Linda Okello manning the KCB Safari Rally championship in Kiambu caused a buzz in the country, raising fears that she would be demoted. While she survived the initial wave of controversy, she was later demoted and transferred to Molo Police Station.

Several other photos of female police officers have since circulated on social media, stirring up debate on the force’s dress code.

The official police dress code bars police officers from having hair lower than their shirt collars, below their ears or eyebrows. While the rules state that make-up should be subtle, there is no universal gauge to draw the line on how much is too much.

Perhaps what could stir up more controversy is the directive on uniform, as police officers have had to dig into their own pockets to acquire the new ensemble.

In September, Vigilance House ordered all officers to acquire the new Persian-blue uniform even before issuing new sets to each individual forcing many to buy theirs for between Sh4,000 and Sh6,500.