London: Scotland Yard has warned overweight and unfit police officers that they risk losing their jobs if they fail to lose weight and get fitter.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said it was an officer's duty to be fit and those who repeatedly fail fitness tests have no place in the force. "Those who failed the test would be given time to lose weight and get fitter, but if they don't, then we haven't got a job for them," Britain's senior-most cop Sir Bernard told the 'Radio Times' in an interview.
"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," he said.
Mandatory annual fitness tests came into force in England and Wales in September last year following a review and applies to officers up to the rank of chief inspector. "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 to pass," Sir Bernard said.
Figures published weeks before the tests became mandatory last year showed hundreds of officers failed. Sir Bernard, who rose through the ranks in South Yorkshire and Merseyside before landing the top job at Scotland Yard in 2011, said he missed the hands-on side of being an officer. "I joined as a policeman, I didn't intend to be commissioner. It's not exciting to chair meetings. There are some exciting outcomes... but it's never quite as joyful as finding somebody who has raped or done a burglary," he said.
His 'Radio Times' interview ties in with the start of 'The Met', a five-part BBC documentary series about the UK's largest police force.