Blobbies on the beat: Police could be forced to pass tough military-style fitness tests or be sacked in crackdown on fat officers

  • Police minister Mike Penning is planning tough new fitness test for officers
  • Bosses are concerned there are too many overweight and obese staff
  • Annual tests brought in last September criticised for being too easy 

Police officers could be forced to pass a tough new military-style test or face the sack in a crackdown on fat officers. 

Minister Mike Penning has called a meeting to discuss a trial of fitness test, similar to that faced by army recruits, amid concerns that far too many of Britain's police are overweight or obese.

The move comes after the current annual test, which was introduced last September, came under fire for being too easy.

Police could be forced to pass a tough new military-style test or face the sack as the force cracks down on fat officers

Police could be forced to pass a tough new military-style test or face the sack as the force cracks down on fat officers

'The current test isn't fit for purpose,' he told The Sun. 'We don't want to kick good officers out but we can't carry people that are not fit for the role of a modern day police officer.' 

He added that the standard of the current test was so low it was 'frightening' that any officers could fail it.

Scotland Yard boss Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe agreed adding there is no place on the thin blue line for unfit officers who arrive at crimes struggling for breath.

Sir Hogan-Howe, who has called for anyone who fails the annual test to be fired, said: ‘For me, the standard is too low, I think it should be higher. It’s relatively easy to pass.’

Police minister Mike Penning has called a meeting of top officers to try and implement a trial of a much tougher fitness test, similar to that faced by the army

Police minister Mike Penning has called a meeting of top officers to try and implement a trial of a much tougher fitness test, similar to that faced by the army

The mandatory fitness tests were introduced last year as part of a drive to improve the condition of frontline officers.

The original intention was that all staff from chief constables to Pcs would undertake the ‘bleep test’, which involves sprinting between markers at timed intervals.

Under proposals made in 2012, anyone who failed it three times could have had their pay docked and ultimately be sacked. 

But last year it was revealed that overweight officers would instead be offered an alternative which involves walking on a treadmill for just nine minutes. 

The changes were made amid fears of legal action and compensation claims from officers pleading their treatment was unfair.

But Mr Penning said that the new exam would be much tougher.

The new regime, which has the backing of top officers and the Home Officer, would be introduced gradually to give officers time to get in shape and would be mandatory for everyone from frontline to back office PCs.  

Results published weeks before the current fitness tests became mandatory last year showed that hundreds of officers failed.

The figures from 38 forces showed that out of 29,285 tests taken , 807 were failed, including 237 by men and 570 by women. 

Sir Hogan-Howe said that those who fail to make the grade should be given time to lose weight and get fitter.

But he added: ‘If they don’t, then we haven’t got a job for them. I think you've got a duty to your colleagues.

‘If they shout for help, they want fit people to come. They don’t want somebody waddling down the road who’s never going to arrive, and when they get there they’re out of breath.’

A review in 2012 found that more than half of Metropolitan Police, 52 per cent of male officers and staff, were overweight, 22 per cent were obese and 1 per cent were morbidly obese. 

Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (pictured) said there is no place on the thin blue line for unfit officers

Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (pictured) said there is no place on the thin blue line for unfit officers

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