Overweight cops suffer criticism in Britain

Police stand during the Notting Hill Carnival children's day in London, on August 28, 2011.

Jeremy Hobson: Police officers like doughnuts. It's a tired old cliche, I know. But in the U.K., it may be true. And to cut the fat, British police could take a hit to their own bottom lines.

The BBC's Kate McGough reports from London.


Kate McGough: Some of the more unkind headlines in Britain today are calling it "Scotland Lard." That's after a government review of U.K. police found that just over half of London's policemen were overweight. And the numbers for policewomen aren't much better, with one-third overweight.

So the authors of the review want to introduce annual test for all officers. For instance, they could test the ability to run at 5.5 mph for three and a half minutes. 

Simon Reed is the vice chairman of the England and Wales Police Federation.

Simon Reed: We'd welcome if they wanted to bring in a fitness regime. But associated with that they'd have to bring in the structures to get officers fit and maintain their fitness.

And here's another reason for U.K. cops to drop the donut. The author of the review suggested that those who fail the fitness test three times face disciplinary procedures -- and a pay cut.

In London, I'm the BBC's Kate McGough, for Marketplace.

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