Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 12:03 UK

Mozambique cops 'too fat to run'

A policeman on a street of Mozambique's capital, Maputo, during February's protests over bus fares
All Mozambican policemen will have to undergo fitness training

Mozambique police officers are to undergo a compulsory physical training programme, because some of them are too fat to run after criminals.

Interior Ministry advisor Pana Chande told the BBC that the poor lifestyle of many police officers was to blame.

Many of them have very large bellies and drink too much alcohol and smoke cigarettes, he said.

"Some of them are so large it is affecting their health and ability to run," he said.

"We are in a process of training officers and commanders at our training centres… We need men who are able to perform without problems," he told the BBC's Jose Tembe.

Mr Chande said many were slow and inflexible, often unable to chase criminals or act swiftly to avoid crime from occurring.

The physical training involves, among other things, running, gymnastics and simulating the chase of criminals.

He explained that the retraining programme is not a form of punishment, but an exercise aimed at improving the performance of the entire police.

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