Monday, February 11, 2008

Mexico cops offered cash to lose weight

Heavyweight police officers in one Mexican city could soon be offered cash bonuses if they slim down.

A diet of fizzy drinks, tacos and sweets is weighing down crime fighters and leaving criminals on the run.

Authorities in Aguascalientes want to offer 100 pesos ($9) for every kilo shed by their portly policemen.

About a quarter of the city's 1,600-strong force are reported to be overweight. Doctors would decide how much weight each needed to lose.

"We do have some fat officers. We have been encouraging them for a while to lose weight, to be more agile, to do sport," a police spokesman told Reuters.

Out of breath

The move could help some officers earn a healthy bonus as they lose pounds. A city official said some officers were about 20 kilos overweight.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy, in Mexico, says one politician behind the plan says some officers currently have to stop chasing criminals after just five metres.

He hopes that under his new scheme the long arm and thinner waist of the law will be much more effective, he said.

According to official statistics, about 69% of Mexicans are overweight and, of these, 30% are obese.

The proposal will be put to the city authorities on Monday.

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