Police officers and public security staff are being offered incentives to boost morale as the earthquake relief effort continues. Those who have proved themselves to be outstanding performers in the aftermath of the quake would be promoted quicker than normal, the Ministry of Public Security said on its website yesterday. Police chiefs who have excelled would be sent to police universities and schools for further study without needing to take entrance tests, as long as they are 'basically qualified', the ministry said, without providing details of qualifications required. Those whose disaster-relief work was 'excellent' would be enlisted to the Communist Party, often a necessary threshold for further promotion. The ministry said public security bureaus at various levels of government could simplify the normal reviewing procedures for dispensing rewards and promotions. It said the policy was meant to further bolster the morale of all police officers and security staff, to push them to perform better. In another statement posted on its website, the public security ministry said that so far, more than 17,000 police officers and security staff - comprising firefighters, riot police and medics - had been sent to quake-hit areas. The households of nearly 5,000 police officers have reported deaths and/or property losses in the quake.