Vietnam bans short, overweight traffic police in Hanoi

Featured South East Asia - March 7th, 2013

Short, obese traffic policemen are to be removed from the streets of Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, local media reports say, in a bid to clean up the public image of a force viewed as the “most corrupt” in the communist state.

Vietnam’s traffic police have not outlined the new height and weight restrictions but said they have been monitoring officers who wouldn’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,” Head of Hanoi traffic police, 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.

Overweight police officers will be required to undergo regular physical training, says a BBC report. All police on duty will be required to carry an official code of conduct, according to official newspaper Tien Phong.

It is the latest step taken to refurbish the force’s poor public image. In 2011, officers were banned from wearing sunglasses on duty or hiding behind trees to ambush unwary motorists to extract fines.

Earlier this year, specially trained women police officers were deployed on busy corners to “cast a friendly light”.

A World Bank survey last year ranked the traffic police as the worst offenders of perceived corruption in Vietnam.