|British policemen urged to clean windows as part of their fitness regime.|
Met's advice for blobby bobbies: Try snowball fights and window cleaning! Health guru offers tips to unfit officers ahead of upcoming fitness tests Police officers have been told to lose weight by tobogganing, having snowball fights and even walking their children to school. Overweight officers are also being urged to move furniture around, build snowmen, wash windows or jump on a trampoline in the garden.
The advice comes from Scotland Yard’s new health guru Sean Burgess in an attempt to help police pass their upcoming fitness tests. A few years ago, a survey of Metropolitan officers and staff revealed that 64 per cent of those on the force’s payroll were overweight, obese or morbidly obese. As a result, mandatory fitness tests - known as ‘bleep tests’ - were introduced in September 2014. A total of 807 were failed - 237 by men and 570 by women – before passing them became compulsory. Any staff who repeatedly fail them face the sack.
Mr Burgess, head of occupational health, gave his fitness advice to officers in the Met’s in-house magazine The Job. He began by writing, ‘Exercise? Who has time for it?’ before listing tips to help officers lose weight. ‘Have snowball fights, build a snowman or do some tobogganing,’ he writes. ‘Household jobs involve moving, stretching, lifting and carrying. Do some cleaning by moving furniture or washing the windows.’
Mr Burgess, a former nurse, says that getting into an exercise routine is hard and suggested finding sports that officers can do with their families like swimming, running for a charity, cycling or walking. He said: ‘Walk the kids to school, or walk the dog around the local park or countryside, if you can. Have a trampoline in the garden or a basketball net.’ Mr Burgess told officers that they should not ‘fear the bleeper’ if they followed his advice. ‘Turn your preparation into a regular habit,’ he added. ‘Training sessions will become easier to manage in terms of time and motivation.
‘If you can train with a partner it will assist in motivation and help develop an exercise habit.’
Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has previously told how important it was that his officers were fit. ‘I think you’ve got a duty to your colleagues,’ he said recently. ‘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.’ Sir Bernard added: ‘It’s taken too long to get the annual test, but it will start to have an increasing impact. For me, the standard is too low, I think it should be higher. It’s relatively easy.’
The Met Commissioner went on to say 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.’ Scotland Yard guidelines say those who fail at the first attempt should be put on a physical training programme for up to ten weeks before being told to retake the test. Officers who fail three further tests are recommended for dismissal.
There are so many overweight policemen in Britain that belts large enough for 56-inch waists are becoming hard to find. Emergency Service Supplies, a uniform supplier, had recently sold out of the XXXL version of the belt that carries heavy equipment as well as holds up trousers. The next size down was in short supply. Utility belts are an essential item for all officers because they are used to carry their handcuffs, baton and other tools. The company also offers outsized clothing for bulkier community support officers, supplying an XXXL high visibility vest alongside other duty wear in sizes up to a 56-inch chest.