Overweight police may be drastically punished according to new plans
20th March 2012
Radical plans have been put forward that would force all officers to undergo an annual fitness test. This would include everybody from constables to chief inspectors and has come about after a review discovered that three-quarters of male officers and staff at the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) are overweight. The ‘Met’ is the territorial police force in charge of Greater London, and is the largest force in Britain. In October 2011 it was calculated that there were 48,661 full-time personnel employed within the MPS. The new plans may hit some larger officers hard in the pocket as it has been suggested a whopping pay cut of £2,900 for repeat offenders who fail the test.  Anybody who fails to lose additional baggage would also be risking their job too according to the review. The ideas suggested for police pay and conditions are the most controversial in 30 years. The plans would at least guarantee that the public is being protected by fit and healthy policemen, with lead author Tom Winsor giving an alarming account into current procedures: “I think the public will be surprised that after passing a fitness test at the point of entry, except in special units like firearms, physical fitness is not tested again in a 30 to 35-year career”. The new study was financed by the government and produced alarming statistics. It was revealed that 52% of male staff at the MPS are overweight, 22% obese, and roughly 1 in every 100 was classed as ‘morbidly obese’. The plans for more vigorous fitness assessment levels should be in place by September 2013 claims Mr Winsor, who states by this point there will likely be an annual shuttle run test. Some may argue that this is not enough though as it merely involves the officers being able to run at an average speed of 5.5mph for 3 minutes and 35 seconds. Another idea put forward in the review, was decreasing the starting salary for most constables from £23,500 to £19,000. Certain officers currently are facing a 2-year pay freeze and clearly Mr Winsor’s review has not settled well with them. Police Federation chairman Paul McKeever, is clearly angered by the review: “How much more are police officers expected to take?”