Figures show that an increasing number of officers now require XXL-size uniforms to do their jobs. Britain’s police forces have ordered thousands of trousers with waistbands of 40in or more with some up to 56ins.
The Met Police alone ordered more than 7,000 large trousers while Greater Manchester Police ordered large waist sizes for more than 800 including nearly 200 women.
Scotland Yard has revealed that some 3,000 Met officers are not fully deployable due to concerns over mental or physical health or their performance.
Many of the uniforms are labelled ‘patrol’ or ‘operational’ meaning they are intended for bobbies on the beat.
The NHS evaluate men with a waist size of more than 37in and women more than 31.5in are more likely to have obesity-related problems.
Freedom of information requests have revealed that Scotland Yard ordered 7,343 trousers with waistbands of 40in or more in the past year.
Greater Manchester Police ordered 837 trousers with 40ins-plus waists while 1,320 large trousers were bought across West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Humberside, figures have revealed.
Devon and Cornwall Police needed 330 pairs, while Avon and Somerset Police put in for 245 including 12 pairs for officers with waists of more than 50ins.
Cumbria Police ordered 91 pairs with waists of 40ins or above with the top size at 48in.
And Dorset Police ordered 65 pairs of trousers with a 40ins plus waistband.
Campaigners have expressed concern that this reflects that a large number of police officers are unfit for duty.
Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: “Everyone serving in an emergency service should be fit for purpose.
“Enlightened commanders who want to keep their staff will send them on a weight management course.”
Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley recently said “a big proportion” of his officers were “not properly deployable’” due to health and performance issues.
He said: “We can’t deal with a workforce where such a big proportion are not properly deployable.
“Many of these people, they can’t work shifts, or they can’t work many hours in a day, or they can only have limited contact with the public, maybe because of anxiety-related issues.
“There does come a point that, if you can’t be match fit to be a police officer, then it’s challenging for us in that it’s a large number of people we can’t properly deploy.”
Annual fitness tests became compulsory for police in England and Wales in 2014. Officers who need to restrain suspects face shuttle run tests totalling 525 metres to be completed in 3 minutes 35 seconds.