Fat Met Police officers should lose money or job - review recommends
11:45 16 March 2012
The Met Police is being weighed down by fat officers who should be docked pay or even sacked if they fail basic fitness tests, a review is recommending.
Tom Winsor’s 18-month review, ordered by home secretary Theresa May, is the most radical review of police pay and conditions for more than 30 years.
The report found three-quarters of men in Britain’s biggest force were overweight or obese, compared with two-thirds of men in the general population.
It also called for annual fitness tests to be brought in and those who repeatedly fail should be at risk of being docked almost £3,000 and, in the most extreme cases, sacked for unsatisfactory performance.
Mr Winsor said fitness, qualifications, skills and experience on the frontline should all be at the heart of the police pay system in future.
“Running after a suspect, or apprehending a violent or disturbed person, requires physical fitness and strength,” he said.
“All officers need to be physically fit enough to do their jobs.
“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, 35-year career.”
Scotland Yard commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe agreed that officers need to be fitter.
“I have not seen all of the recommendations, but I do support the broad thrust of them, especially around officers being fitter, lateral entry into the service, and pay being based on skills and knowledge,” he said.
“Keeping fit is key to an efficient and effective police service and it is what the public would expect and deserve.
“It is right and proper that police officers should do everything they can to keep themselves physically fit.
“If they are failing in that responsibility, it is only right that they should face some kind of sanction.
“But it is important that we put in place safeguards to protect those officers who have been injured on duty whilst fighting crime.”
MPs have warned that the call to bring in performance-related pay must not endanger “the core ethos of service and self-sacrifice in policing that has served this country well”.
Policing minister Nick Herbert echoed Mr Winsor’s comments that the existing police pay system was last updated more than 30 years ago.
“We want police pay and conditions that are fair and fit for the 21st century,” the minister said.
“Our comprehensive package of police reforms will support the police in improving service to the public and developing professionalism - giving us a better crime-fighting force for the future.”
However, the report has been criticised by Peter Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, who believes that the proposed reforms would lead to one in 10 officers being deemed unsatisfactory and accused Winsor him of “stealing money from police officers”.
“I would say that his report is a potentially lethal attack on the office of constable, the bedrock of British policing,” Mr Smyth said.
“His proposals to introduce redundancy, savage wage cuts to those that are injured in the line of duty and a culture where 10 per cent of officers must be classified as unsatisfactory, are all attacks on the police officers’ traditional role as Crown servants rather than employees.
“Winsor takes away much if not all of the position as Crown servant, leaving police officers as employees.
“If we are to be employees, then surely we should have some level of industrial rights like all our fellow workers?
“As we watch Tube drivers, train staff being offered ever increasing sums of money in Olympic bonuses, simply for going to work, police officers by comparison face savage pay cuts.
“This government seem to only reward intimidation and have no regard for the dedicated service of police officers ensuring the safety of our communities.”