Just how do our roly-poly cops expect to fight crime?

Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula is often criticised for the fact that his police officers seem incapable of dealing with crime.

Sometimes, though, some of us who criticise him want to offer a few solutions.

One hopes the minister listens this time. It's a matter of great urgency and he really has to deal with it.

Here's the problem: there are too many fat policemen and women on our streets. And I don't mean overweight, I mean fat bordering on obesity.

Over the weekend I was shocked to see how many cops walk the streets looking like elephants.

On Freedom Day at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg, I watched two massive women in police uniforms walk by. Had I been a criminal I would have been filled with audacity because there is no way those two could possibly have caught up with me in a chase.

In fact, they could hardly walk, they were so fat - and to make things worse, I noticed several similar specimens during the next few days.

I know that the police training college is no piece of cake. Recruits are put through a tough regiment and expected to emerge in peak physical condition.

That's the way it should be.

But it looks as if policemen and women vow never to do anything physical again the moment they leave the training college.

First, it's a bit of fat round the waist, then the bulge springs forth.

Of course, it must cost the Ministry of Safety and Security millions of rands to supply uniforms in the required sizes - and to replace them as the representatives of the law grow.

Don't get me wrong, there are some fine, fit and healthy police officers out there. If they were on your trail, you would be scared because they look and are capable of bringing you down.

But sadly, this is not the case with many others. Worse still, the fat epidemic seems to be increasing by the day and it seems no one wants to nip it in the bud.

In Gauteng, the Metro Police seem to be among the worst offenders.

Every time a Metro Police officer stops me they seem to be the product of much too much pap en wors.

All this might seem funny but actually the effect on law and order must be huge. If our police can't run after suspects, what does it mean for the fight against crime?

What do our young say about the police services when they see these waddling jokes? Surely they can't be keen to join the services?

Because clearly being a police officer in our country means eating a lot of fatty food and not sending the bad guys to jail.

The fight against crime is massive and complex. So we must ask ourselves what it means when we can't address a matter as small as the rampant fat problem in our police services.