Surjeet SIngh Virdee, Kenya Police Chief Superintendent, directing traffic in 1963 in front of the Khoja Mosque (at the intersection of Government Road – presently Moi Avenue – and River Road) during the period when the Ismaili community was commemorating the newly attained independence of Kenya.
Considered as loyal and efficient lawmen, with a firm commitment to their faith, the Colony saw in the Sikhs the perfect role models to set in the community and colony as police chiefs. After the appointment of the first Sikh policement in the Kenya Colony in 1895, more and more Sikhs got attracted and encouraged to follow suit to serve the colony and country.
The Sikhs in the Kenya Police continued to serve in civic duties even after independence but over the next few years, their recruitments dropped as the Africanisation of the country’s affairs begun to be put into effect. As for today, no single Sikh remains in national law enforcement capacities.
Kenya-born Harbans Singh Jabbal became the first British Police Officer to wear a turban on duty, 28 January 1970. He had earlier worked as a Detective Chief Inspector in Kenya until 1966.
Photo Credit – Gurdip S. Bhogal