The image of a typical cop with layers of flab is a major cause for concern and raises questions about fitness in the force.
For the Punjab police, it is quite a challenge to persuade these obese personnel to shed flab. But, they have evolved a novel way to dispose some of the adipose by shaking a leg to bhangra during their daily drill.
During a recent routine check-up, it was found that as many as half the police force in the state was afflicted by ailments including obesity.
"There is no time for resting and their food intake is highly irregular. There is very little time to bite into a morsel or to spare time for the family. So when they work under such difficult situations and are stressed out. Their mental and physical equilibrium is deeply disturbed. It is very essential that they are physically and mentally fit," said Dr. D J Singh, Dy. Director, Punjab Police Training Academy, Phillaur.
After honing their skills at wielding the stick and regulating traffic, the "well-endowed" Punjab police cops in Batinda have now added peppy bhangra to their daily drill.
A session of the vigorous folk dance is part of the weight-loss programme designed by SSP Naunihal Singh, who was reportedly overwhelmed by the collective fat of his force.
The initiative is already beginning to show results with the 264-odd policemen having shed two kg each in two months.
"Our fitness levels have gone up. I have shed more than 2.5 kilograms. All the personnel undergoing the weight-loss regime are totally relaxed. Earlier, they lived under tremendous stress and now they have destressed practicing the Bhangra, physical exercise and yoga in the early morning," said Mohan.
Ram, another personnel added, "Policemen will gain relief from several ailments and develop trim physiques. And these smart Punjab police personnel can be spotted and signalled out even in a crowd," Singh said.
While more then half of these police personnel were prescribed the bhangra drill, the rest were sent for yoga practice. They were further sub-divided into 12 teams comprising 22 members each with a gazetted officer at the helm.
It has been announced that a competition to assess the weight loss will be held in February 2008 and rewards will be given to teams who report a substantial loss. Those who don't will be penalized.