Lean and mean

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After assigning female officers to police traffic, an image-conscious Hanoi police is next planning to remove big-bellied cops off the roads.

The Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported that the city's traffic police teams are assessing their members to weed out not only those with pot bellies but also small-sized and ill-mannered officers.

They would be posted to desk jobs, Colonel Dao Vinh Thang, chief of the Hanoi traffic police, told the newspaper, adding that other countries like Thailand and India have already done so.

It is among several measures to improve the image of police officers in the capital.

Another measure requires officers to carry a pocket guidebook on conducting themselves with the public, the report said, quoting Thang as saying that five teams of inspectors have been deployed to keep an eye on traffic cops' attitudes.

Those not found behaving properly would be taken off the roads, he said.

In January more than 20 women officers were assigned to patrol 10 chronically congested spots in Hanoi.

The plan has gained support from team chiefs, Tien Phong reported.

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Lieutenant-colonel Nguyen Trong Thai, who is in charge of Team No.14, said he was in favor of the new plan, stressing the need for officers to handle traffic violations with integrity and to improve their skills.

A World Bank-funded survey said last November that traffic police is the country's most corrupt institution.

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