I was startled to read on Thursday press headlines about obesity in the police, citing figures for London, that simply didn't ring true. So for now I will stick today with Winsor on obesity.
In inspired writing style the Evening Standard, under a headline 'Police face the sack for being fat' refers to:
It reveals 44 per cent of officers in London are overweight and 19 per cent are obese. Another one per cent are officially classed as “morbidly obese” and only 35 per cent are of normal weight.
The Winsor Report Part 2 Section 5.1.56 says:
There is little data on the fitness of those in the police service
and the Evening Standard refers to what appears to be detailed data for the Met :
Figures in his report, using official “body mass index” calculations of weight, show that male Met officers are in the worst condition, with 52 per cent classed as overweight, 22 per cent obese and one per cent morbidly obese. By contrast, half of female Met officers are of normal weight, 32 per cent overweight, 16 per cent obese and two per cent morbidly obese.
Strange I thought and a search on comments found this:
Table 5.2 that shows the MPS obesity figures is based on the entire Met including police staff and PCSOs. Only 61% of the total of those involved were police officers. Of all staff who voluntarily attended the healthcheck 64% were judged to be overweight or obese based on BMI, a measure that is totally innacurate when used with the highly fit with high muscle density. There are no figures solely related to operational police officers.
Similar information on:http://www.metfed.org.uk/news?id=1676
So the Winsor Report's data on obesity is based on a tiny sample of Met officers and staff who voluntarily
attended a health clinic due to their
concerns over obesity. That's right people who identified they had a problem and sought help. I shall leave aside whether those tested consented to their personal medical information being released in an aggregate format to the Winsor enquiry.
Locally I discovered WMP has previously offered "stay healthy" sessions to all officers and staff, which included a full medical examination by a nurse. Secondly some are required to attend for a session with the force's (contracted) doctors after injuries at work, as part of a return to work process - which does not include a full medical examination.
At one stage, within the last eight years, many stations had small fitness rooms, with gym equipment which was privately funded and then they started to disappear. Further back participation in force sport could be in work time, that too went - rightly I think.
Bad data to base a conclusion on.
Yes police officers should be fit for the role they are in, an annual test seems sensible and should be for all ranks - conducted openly and because of the pressures independently conducted. Have a peek at the standard test in New Zealand, taken by a reporter:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxAwtx6U58I