Concerns have been raised over the health of police officers after it emerged that thousands of XXL-size trousers were being ordered for bobbies. The statistics have been met with shock by campaigners who see the figures as a sign that Britain’s obesity problem is worsening.
The Met Police ordered 7,343 pairs which included the sizes 40in, 50in, 52in and a very large 56in – the equivalent of 4.5ft, according to analysis of figures by the Daily Mail.
Tam Frey, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, described the data as “shocking”.
However, a spokesman for the Met commented: “The size of a person’s waist is not necessarily an indicator of fitness or their ability to carry out their role.”
The Met stressed that annual fitness tests are still compulsory for all of its officers.
Additionally, West Midlands Police bought 1,852 large pairs of trousers last year.
Greater Manchester Police purchased 15, and Northumbria police bought 11.
The data comes just two years after it was reported that 70 percent of officers in Hampshire Constabulary were considered either overweight or obese.
However, the force clarified that the screening which produced this figure involved only 8 percent of its staff.
The screening involved 525 of Hampshire police staff, 367 of who were found to be overweight, the force said.
It employs about 6,000 staff in total.
The figures emerged after an email from Ch Supt Lucy Hutson at Hampshire Constabulary warned staff of the health risks following a recent health screening programme.
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A spokesman for Hampshire police said the leaked document was from “internal communications in relation to our responsibility as an employer to conduct vulnerability assessments of our staff and officers in relation to Covid-19”.
In a document available on the website with advice for those applying to be a police officer, the Met say that applicants’ BMI “needs to to be in the healthy to overweight range”.
It adds: “If your BMI is above 32 (for police offcers) or 35 (for PCSOs, DDOs or Specials) you will not be accepted unless your body fat is less than 30 percent for men or 36 percent for women.”
According to NHS guidelines, people’s waistlines should be just under half your height.
For the population at large, two in three adults are classified as overweight or obese.
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This number is increasing, with Cancer Research UK reportedly fearing that the number of unhealthy people will out number healthy people in five years’ time.
Predictions by the charity said 40 percent will be obese in 20 years’ time, while at least 70 percent of people will be overweight or obese.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of 13 different types of cancer, the charity warned, with about 22,800 cases of the disease linked to being overweight.
At the time Cancer Research chief executive Michelle Mitchell said: “These projections should serve as a wake-up call to the Government about the state of our nation’s health. Ministers must not keep kicking the can down the road when it comes to tackling the obesity crisis – delaying measures that will lead to healthier food options.
“I urge them to revisit this decision and take bold action on obesity, the second biggest preventable risk factor for cancer in the UK.”
Experts also warned that if the country continues on its current trajectory, obesity will “eclipse smoking as the biggest cause of cancer”.