Policemen may find it difficult to stomach this — but those with a potbelly may not be considered for honours such as the President's police medals. The Home ministry has made it clear that those tasked with law enforcement have to be physically fit to be considered for any award such as medals meant for distinguished and meritorious services. Police officers who do not enjoy a clean image too will not be given any medals, it said. In a circular issued to all state governments and central police organisations yesterday, the ministry said police personnel should be physically fit and must be in what it described as 'SHAPE 1' category to be considered for the President's police medal. This category is the highest level of fitness in terms of psychological health, hearing, appendages, physical capacity and eyesight and implies that they can be posted for any duty. Physically fit would also mean no flab, and certainly not a potbelly. 'SHAPE 2' is fit for all duties but may have limitations as to the type of duties and areas of employability depending on whether the duties involve severe stress or demand acuity of hearing or vision. Relaxation for 'SHAPE 2' can be given only in exceptional circumstances, joint secretary in the home ministry Kumar Alok said in the circular. The ministry said a specified length of service — a minimum of 18 years for a police medal for meritorious service and 25 years for the President's police medal for distinguished service — is required for all police officers irrespective of rank and service. The states, union territories and central police organisations have been advised that while making recommendations for awarding police medals to eligible officers, seniority, combined with professionalism, may be given priority. Police officers who do not have a clean image should not be recommended for the honours, the home ministry said. The President's police medals for distinguished service and meritorious service are announced on the eve of Republic Day every year.
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