Vietnam to ban short, fat traffic police in Hanoi

Short, pot-bellied policemen will be banned from traffic duty in Vietnam's capital Hanoi and given office jobs in a bid to improve the force's public image, police said Wednesday.

Details of the new height and weight restrictions were not available but the head of Hanoi's traffic police said they were working on a list of cops who didn't measure up and would be redeployed out of sight.

"Police with pot-bellies, or who are too small, will be moved to office work to avoid their coming into contact with the public," Colonel Dao Vinh Thang told AFP.

"This is one of the strategies to build up the image of Hanoi's traffic police in 2013," he added.

Vietnam's traffic police -- which were voted the "most corrupt" institution in the communist country according to a recent World Bank-funded survey -- have long been dogged by a poor public image.

In 2011, authorities banned traffic police from wearing sunglasses on duty and warned them not to hide behind trees to ambush motorists to extract fines.

Earlier this year, authorities introduced specially-trained female officers on busy corners during rush hour in a bid to "cast a friendly light" onto the force, state media reported at the time.

The move to weed out fat, short policemen is a good initiative which may help improve public perceptions of the force, policeman Nguyen Trong Thai told state media Wednesday.

"It is necessary for officers to undergo regular physical training," he said.

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