Tom Winsor’s review revealed some shocking statistics which shed light on the current state of the London Met’s fitness.
The news that London police could face fitness tests and fines in order to improve their future performance might sound harsh to some but in my opinion it can only be a good thing.
It’s surprising that police officers are only tested on their fitness when they join the force.
This probably explains why Tom Winsor, the former rail regulator who was commissioned by the government to produce the review, came across some shocking figures.
Twenty five per cent of men in the police force are of a normal weight but an incredible 52 per cent are overweight, 22 per cent are obese, and 1 per cent are morbidly obese.
For women in the police force 50 per cent are of a normal weight, 32 per cent are overweight, 16 per cent are obese and 2 per cent are morbidly obese.
How can a Londoner feel safe in the knowledge that a large proportion of the Met are probably too overweight to chase criminals?
And what happens if they need to wear heavy protective equipment? Surely that would only slow them down even more.
It is vital for us to have faith in our police force. Chasing and apprehending a criminal requires physical fitness and strength.
Mr Winsor suggests that by 2013 all police, including senior members, should have to run a 16 yard track back and forth in 3 minutes 35 seconds regularly.
By 2018 he recommends an assault course which includes crawling, jumping, balancing, wall climbing, and practising dragging bodies to be implemented into the tests.
Failing three times would mean disciplinary procedures for unsatisfactory performance and in some cases being docked £3000 of their yearly wage or even being sacked.
The main papers have reported upset within the police, especially for officers who are disabled or have been injured.
But I spoke to PC Hill of Kingston Met Police who told me he thinks the report is highlighting an important issue.
He agrees with the need to improve the police’s quality of service.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has also supported the broad thrust of the report mainly on the issue of officers being fitter and their pay being based on skills and knowledge rather than longevity.
There is a chance that there are officers who have been injured so it won’t apply to them – but there’s absolutely no excuse for the rest of the working force who we rely on for our safety.
We, the public, expect and deserve our police officers to be fit enough to do their jobs.