Obese police officers face pay cuts

LONDON Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:48am GMT

A policeman patrols on Brighton seafront Brighton southern England March 7 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A policeman patrols on Brighton seafront Brighton southern England March 7 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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LONDON (Reuters) - Police and support staff must prove their fitness in annual tests or have their pay docked after a survey found 64 percent were overweight, obese or morbidly obese, a review concluded on Thursday.

The government-commissioned report into police pay and conditions suggested that officers who failed a fitness test three times should be disciplined and could lose 8 percent of their salary, as much as 3,000 pounds for some.

It follows a survey of more than 11,500 officers and staff on London's police force which found that 44 percent were overweight, 19 percent obese, and one percent morbidly obese, the report said.

The review, which comes as the government seeks to make cuts of some 20 percent to police budgets as part of austerity measures, recommended other wide-ranging changes which would allow officers to be sacked, cut starting salaries, raise the pension age and require staff to have better qualifications.

The proposals, while generally welcomed by chief constables, have not gone down well with ordinary officers who are facing pay freezes, higher pension contributions and a cut in numbers.

"Police officers have had enough of the constant state of uncertainty and the deliberate, sustained attack on them by this government," said Paul McKeever, Chairman of Police Federation of England and Wales.

"The service cannot take any more; enough is enough."

(Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Paul Casciato)

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