Police officers, often accused of resorting to the use of excessive force in public demonstrations, are now warned about smoking and watching their weight. Recently appointed Ankara Police Chief Orhan Özdemir has issued official circulars warning police officers about the professional consequences of smoking cigarettes and being overweight.
He said overweight officers will be detected and warned of possible consequences they could face. The relevant circular notes that some police officers fail to wear their tool belts because of their huge stomachs, adding that overweight officers failing to meet the standards will be noted in their registries.
In the circular on smoking, Özdemir recalls that the ban on smoking is not limited to the public buildings, adding that officers are not allowed to smoke in public while wearing their uniforms. Özdemir further announced that police officers will face a fine and a disciplinary investigation if they violate this ban.
Special teams have been appointed to detect police officers who smoke while in uniform in Ankara; the teams will collect evidence when they catch smokers and start legal action accordingly.
According to the circular, special areas will be created for the officers who smoke cigarettes in all police buildings. These areas will be remote and not accessible by the public. Special attention will be paid in the selection of these areas to make sure that smoking there will have the least effect over others. Police officers and staff will not be allowed to smoke elsewhere.
To make sure that official services are performed without interruption, smokers will be permitted to smoke in these areas for a only limited time each day. During work hours, smokers will have to ask permission from their superiors to smoke. They are only allowed two cigarette breaks, not exceeding 15 minutes each. Their superior officer will monitor whether these limitations are observed.
Özdemir will also hold random inspections in an effort to ensure that the measures on the circular are being fully applied. To this end, inspection teams will be set up under the auspices of the Discipline Unit of the Ankara Police Department.
The inspectors are obligated to initiate legal action against the violators immediately; relevant sanctions will be applied after the charge has been substantiated using proper evidence. The inspection teams will collect information, documents and evidence that prove the commission of the offence. Officers who violate the smoking ban will face legal action under a misdemeanor bill and an additional disciplinary investigation for committing banned acts during active duty.