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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Let’s keep fat police and thin out council

To borrow a sentiment coined by the late, great and probably portly Julius Caesar – let me have men about me that are fat.

EM Anne Pickles
Anne Pickles

He was a wise one that Roman emperor. Well, most of the time, anyway.

He’d have known the value of weighty coppers. A hefty frame on a man of authority is a definite advantage.

Skinny police? Don’t think so. They’d be knocked over like skittles by criminals for whom boxing training had failed as rehabilitation.

Julius had a deep suspicion of thin people. “Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,” he warned. “He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”

Never a truer word. A major review of policing – from a man who thinks too much – has called for running tests and assault course training to ensure officers are up to chasing villains. Any officer repeatedly failing fitness testing might have to suffer a pay cut.

Fair enough, you might think. Policemen – and women – should be fast enough on their feet to catch an escaping burglar, mugger or 33 mph speeder.

But, let’s be honest – when did you last see a proper copper on the streets where miscreants do their daily dirty deeds?

Come to think of it, when did you last see a fully-fledged police officer – skinny or otherwise – pounding the pavements of any street?

The get-fit-quick elements of Tom Winsor’s review of police pay and conditions apparently slipped in because somebody, somewhere decided too many of our police officers were “clinically obese ”– whatever that means.

More than a few pounds overweight, obviously. But less than at death’s door and breathless, one assumes.

Tom Winsor would know, presumably. Before he became an expert on reorganising the nation’s police force, he was a rail regulator – and we can all see how great a job he made of that.

His brief, it would seem, is to save money... isn’t it always? So, he wants to raise the retirement age of officers, put bobbies on diets and install gyms in what’s left of our police stations.

That way old, thin, cheap officers will be able to run after crims when petrol prices are so high they can no longer afford to fill the tanks of police cars.

Mr Winsor would also end the ban on making officers redundant, allowing chief constables to cut jobs when budgets fall. Even fewer officers – marvellous (not).

It used to be said that we get the police service we deserve. Not so now. We get the police forces we can afford after paying rail regulators, consultants, gym instructors, accountants and various expensive bureaucrats to tell the experts how to do their jobs.

Here’s a thought, worthy of Julius. We pay for our hard-pressed police largely through council tax. We pay for our 371 councillors, across seven Cumbrian authorities, from the same fund.

Which would you be happiest paying for – more police officers (even podgy ones) or more councillors?

 

Have your say

More Police less councillors as they are useless especially Carlisle Council. However I know some weedy looky blokes who are pretty hard and could probably handle somebody alot bigger than them, Bigger they are harder they fall I believe. You cant sterotype people because of their size. You cant judge a book by its cover can you. However some of the wheeze bags I see in uniform around Cumbria could probably lay of the fontanas slightly and maybe stick to a nice salad for a few months. I would like to ask what makes Pickles such an expert on this matter??

Posted by Graham on 13 April 2012 at 17:00

Anne Pickles comments are spot on. Foot patrol Police officers (not PCSO's Bernard)are a rarity these days. Consider the plethora of court cases reported in our local papers - when was the last time you read that the criminal was caught after a chase on foot by a bobby? So does the ability to sprint half a mile and scramble walls and fences - in full kit - really take precedence over all the other skills officers need. To sustain fitness takes time, the next time your police officer doesn't arrive quickly enough, will you accept - sorry, I was in the gym?

Posted by Dave on 7 April 2012 at 14:07

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