We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

Hampshire Fed and force hit back over obesity claims

Alex Charge, Hampshire Federation Chairman, has hit back against media claims that 7 out of 10 officers are overweight and said the force is “proactive and pre-emptive” when it comes to fitness and wellbeing.

Chief Superintendent Lucy Hutson wrote in an email that the force’s health screening programme indicates almost 70 per cent of the force is currently overweight or obese.

This was picked up by the Sun and the Dailymail.

The figures were taken from the force’s physical assessment and screening of a sample of 525 officers and staff who have asked for help with their wellbeing and fitness over the past two years.

Seventy per cent of this sample is 367 people, 6 per cent of the entire workforce.

Federation chair Alex Charge said the media claims were “unfair, inaccurate and does nothing to improve the morale of our hard working members”.

He said: “It’s just not true. And we are saddened that this is based on internal force correspondence and that newspapers have decided to run such a derogatory headline and stories about our hard-working colleagues at such a time without it being based on fact.

“Also, when you look at the data, in terms of body fat percentage rather than BMI, only 18 per cent of officers who were screened came out as “obese”, showing that there is a lot of functional lean body mass (muscle) out there in the constabulary. So these media headlines are nonsense and should be firmly challenged.”

The force said in a statement: “Hampshire Constabulary takes wellbeing very seriously as we know the job can be incredibly challenging for our officers and staff.

“The physical and mental health of our staff is incredibly important to us, and we are committed to proactive and reactive strategies to increase good health and wellbeing in our policing teams.”

The Federation and the force said that Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen has launched a series of health and wellbeing initiatives.

These include Dep’s Dinners, which provides recipe cards and advice and guidance on eating healthily and how to accommodate fitness and nutrition into unconventional work hours.

Another initiative is Frontline Fitness which is led by an operational frontline officer who is also a fitness instructor. He creates work out videos on Youtube that are adapted to functions carried out by officers. These are gym based or can be done at home through lockdown.

The force has also invested in gyms at multiple sites across the force.

Mr Charge said Hampshire were “definitely a leader in this area”.

He said: “Our force is very much looking at being in the preventative space around fitness and wellbeing. It’s all well and good people being unwell and making them better - isn’t it much better to actually stop them getting unwell in the first place?”

He again condemned the “sweeping, police bashing” media reports.

“There is a national issue with health and it is difficult in this job. We all know officers work shifts and that doesn’t help, people have hectic lives at home and work and actually Hampshire Constabulary, supported by the Fed, are helping people and doing more than other forces,” he said.

He also said if an officer is struggling with the annual fitness test they have the ability to work with the health and wellbeing team and receive support from Frontline Fitness.

The force said: “We absolutely acknowledge that policing is a tough vocation and we in Hampshire Constabulary are acutely aware of our need to be proactive about the health and wellbeing”.

Leave a Comment
View Comments 6
In Other News
Claims of pension discrimination against the Federation found proven
Chief constable reverses his decision to retire from poliicing
Hampshire develops safety protocol for visually-impaired
More News