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Short candidates in NRW cannot become police officers, court confirms

The plaintiff in court with her lawyer on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Judges in a court in North Rhine-Westphalia on Tuesday ruled that the state governments standard minimum height for police officers in the state was acceptable.

The height rule was "appropriate and very understandable", said judge Andreas Müller at the administrative court in Düsseldorf.

At 1.60 metres tall, a female prospective police officer had felt disadvantaged by the minimum height requirement and took her case to court.

A minimum height set by the state government of 1.63 metres for both males and females has been in place in NRW for several months now.

The 24-year-old plaintiffs lawyer argued that his client was very sporty and had already passed recruitment procedures with the federal police and the police in Lower Saxony and Hesse.

It is incomprehensible why she should be unsuitable for the police service in NRW, the lawyer said in court.

But the judges saw things differently and rejected the young womans appeal, stating that the plaintiff was too short and therefore unsuitable for the job.

The state of NRW has clearly demonstrated that a minimum height is appropriate for the police officers' own protection, the judges added. Taller police officers for instance are better able to look into cars during traffic checks and recognize potential dangers.

"We can see, of course, that she is fit,” said judge Müller. “It's a hardship, but you have to make a cut somewhere.”

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