Belfast Telegraph

Chief Constable George Hamilton would need a Taser to catch a con

By Suzanne Breen

Our top cops must never look in the mirror. The PSNI says the reason it's recruiting so many men is that most young women here just aren't fit.

That might be an acceptable criticism if the force was led by a team of muscular males who spend their evenings pumping iron and flexing their abs at the gym.

But PSNI headquarters is renowned for corpulent cops not chiselled chic. What gives a group of older, overweight men, the right to judge young women?

It was Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay who jumped in, feet first, when asked by the Policing Board to explain the disparity between the growing number of young males and females joining the force.

Apparently, Women would-be recruits 'less fit', compared to nine out of 10 men. Well, it's obviously all downhill on donuts and cream buns from there for blokes on the beat.

The only time I ever see a policeman run is to the fish-and-chip shop at closing time. Admittedly, come the good weather, many can be spotted in our parks. Reclined in their car seats, windows down, licking 99s with lashings of raspberry.

I'd have expected Chief Constable, George Hamilton, of all people to have shot down Alistair Finlay's smug sermonising. George is, by all accounts, a lovely guy. But he's not exactly trim and toned.

He has several chins and just as many bellies. To his credit, he's not afraid to let them all hang loose as his ice bucket challenge picture proved. It's not just that George would get winded at the end of a chase. He'd need a Taser to catch a fleet-footed criminal.

The PSNI's fitness test involves completing an obstacle course three times which includes a stair climb, running across a balance beam, climbing over a 6ft wall, and lifting and carrying weights.

Remember former Assistant Chief Constable Alan McQuillan? If current recruiting rules had been in place, he'd never have got across the door of a police station and what a loss that would have been. Fitness is important for police officers, particularly those in the front line. But it's not the be-all and end-all.

There can be fit cowards who are found wanting when things turn nasty. Give me a fat woman or man with courage any day.

Read more:

After top cop says women aren't fit for police force, will Chief Constable George Hamilton put himself to test? 

Women would-be recruits 'less fit'

PSNI fitness test candidate: 'I was riding high, but got axed over a few lost seconds' 

'PSNI fitness test is unfair on women because male recruits are naturally stronger' 

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