Rome says the new requirement is "not a declaration of war on plus size" police officers.
Rome has launched a recruitment drive for 500 new municipal traffic police, or vigili urbani, in the coming months, with a stipulation that they must pass physical tests such as running, high jumps and push-ups, according to daily newspaper ll Messaggero.
The news follows reports that the city has ordered "extra large sizes" in the uniforms for the municipal police force in recent months, reports Il Messaggero.
Male candidates will reportedly be asked to run 800 metres within a maximum time of four minutes, as well as a "high jump of a height of 105 centimetres to be overcome in a maximum of three attempts" and “15 continuous push-ups."
Female candidates are required to do seven push-ups, a 90-cm high jump and complete an 800-m run within five minutes.
Describing the vigili as a "fundamental pillar of our city", Rome mayor Virginia Raggi said: “The physical tests present in the competition just launched do not represent a peculiarity of Roma Capitale but are required by national legislation. It is false that this is a measure to declare war on plus size.”
A statement issued from city hall underlined that: "The physical tests, planned on a national scale, are consistent with the evolution of the role and functions of the Polizia Locale officer, increasingly committed to guaranteeing road safety services."
The city's councilor for personnel Antonio De Santis also took issue with the media reports, defending the "essential services" provided by vigili and stating: "Portraying them with humiliating and demeaning tones, making them targets of derision in order to debase their work and ridicule them, constitutes an offense for the entire city.”
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