Prejudice at work: Fat cops face pay cuts


Cheap junk food – worse than a high salary?

England, Europe’s fattest country, has big problems. More than one in five police officers are obese and the problem is getting worse. Meanwhile, proposals for solutions are getting stupider. Pay cuts are now proposed for police officers who fail to lose weight.

Evening Standard: Police face the sack for being fat

This is yet another sad manifestation of today’s ignorance and prejudice against people with weight problems. The problem will hardly be solved by kicking harder on the afflicted, neither with pay cuts nor with insults. That the latter is a real past proposal by the British health minister is just mindblowing.

Obesity is more common in poor people and cheap junk food (like sugar and starches) is probably the biggest cause. Lowering the salaries of the victims will hardly help.

When this initiative doesn’t make fat people slim, what will be next? Restaurants where fat people are not allowed? Buses they may not ride in? Park benches they aren’t allowed to sit on? Where will it end?


  1. Funderaren
    Yes, because bad health have nothing to with working conditions, just bad character...

    Some politcians really scares me in their ignorance.

  2. Alexandra
    And no doubt they will first be counseled by some dietary expert and told that it's their lack of will power and that they need to cut fat, eat more healthy whole grains and simply move more... when that fabulous advice fails, it will be assumed that they are non-compliant and they will be fired.
  3. Maggan A
    It seems that obese and overweight people are the only ones left as it is allowed to have a bias towards
  4. paul
    I think maybe the point is missed here. I'm low carb, and understand what you're getting at, that it's not their fault etc. But if your job is to be physically active, in order to chase down criminals or whatever, then it really is possible to build up fitness, even on a high carb diet ( ask 90% of the western world population).

    I'm not saying it wouldn't be better and easier on a LCHF diet, but even following pure conventional wisdom, cutting out junk food and doing regular exercise will probably get the police force to a fitness level benchmark that will pass the test.

    It;s a real shame that they're not being given sound advice on how to lose weight, but if they are not able to do their job because of it, then maybe they need to rethink their lifestyle in ways slightly more obvious (and 'conventional') than cutting carbs and increasing good quality fat... ie exercise more, eat more wholefoods and vegetables... and they will be most of the way there

  5. I see this differently. Physical fitness is part of job performance for officers, firemen, etc. Whether or not they understand why they're fat or what to do about it, paying them the same pay that fit officers receive isn't a good thing.

    That said, I don't think obesity should be the test, but instead be replaced with pay based on fitness. To get a position on the force, a test is applied. I simply that a similar or even stricter test should continue to be applied.

    And to confuse this with discrimination against obese is simple thinking. What about age? If an officer continued to stay on the force long past the point at which he could physically get around I would want him to be removed or at least relegated to a desk role. That isn't age discrimination.

    Basically, the discrimination shouldn't be on merely being obese, but based on what the obesity inevitably leads to...which is reduced job performance for the majority of overweight officers.

    If an obese officer can move as fast, for as long, as his lean peers then I see no reason to penalize him in any way.

  6. Jean (UK)
    I agree with Paul and Bill. I wouldn't mind a fat policeman looking after me as long as he was fit to do his job.
    A fitness test, not a fatness one is what is needed.
  7. Simon
    I don't think this is a bad thing at all. When you join the police you're required to be a certain weight and fitness. Same goes for fireman and those in the Armed Forces. It's also an image thing. I don't think anyone wants to see their local bobby with a large beer belly, chasing down the high street. It just wouldn't look good.
  8. JAUS
    #7 "It wouldn't look good"?!!

    What an awful person you are. So only people that you think have acceptable looks are allowed to be policemen? You disgust me.

  9. Vinny
    There are far better reasons to cut pay from cops here in the US other then being fat.
  10. One other point. You said "This is yet another sad manifestation of today’s ignorance and prejudice against people with weight problems."

    I don't see that there's any ignorance or prejudging going on here. How does this decision reflect ignorance? How does it prejudge? Incidentally, after reading the article to which this article linked, it appears the pay is based on the ability to pass a physical test, it is not based on weight or BMI.

    So, if any prejudice occurred I think it was yours in suggesting that the bias was against those with weight problems, as opposed to those unable to pass a fitness test.

  11. pj
    I am ALL for it. The cops in my township are either morbidity obese or pumped out weight lifters I suspect use Steroids. Test for steroids and cut the pay on the big belly pre-diabetic men in blue. Along with alcohol issues due to stress and obesity, these cops need to meet me half way if I am to pay for health care out of my taxes ( which I do now). Fat cops cannot protect or serve in the best interest of the public.
  12. JAUS
    Everyone here who thinks that it's a good idea, do you also think that people that has lower IQ should have lower salary too? How about short people? How about people that aren't generally considered attractive? And what about older people? They surely should also have lower salary using your logic.
  13. JAUS:
    Well, it depends on the applicability to the job. How about if you try to reframe this as "Do you think people better at their job should get paid more to do that better job?"

    See, the fit cops ostensibly do a better job.

    In general, those with lower IQ do have lower salaries. Makes sense.

    As to the other points, as I said in the first of this comment, it depends on the applicability. If I'm hiring a software engineer, I'll pay him less or more depending on skills. His looks won't be a factor. If I'm hiring a model/actress/exotic dancer, then I think attractiveness will be a big factor in salary.

    Should older people get less salary? I have positions within my companies that benefit greatly from the experience and knowledge of people older than I am. Without meeting them though, if I'm hiring someone for manual labor I'll pick the 25 year old over the 85 year old. Applicability to job.

    This idea that we shouldn't make informed decisions, pick the best person for the job, and reward those who do a better job is ridiculous. It's the grown up equivalent of "everyone gets a ribbon." Well, I for one will say shove your participation ribbon up your butt. Reward me for being the best or among the best, and let me decide if I care to pursue excellence in that area of interest.

    I'm a big kid, I can handle finding out I'm not the best at something, even if I tried really hard.

  14. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD Team Diet Doctor
    Bill Strahan #10,
    You may have a point in that it's mainly the media coverage that's nasty. Not having read the actual proposal, just a number of reports in the media, it may be overblown. Let's hope so.

    Having to pass a fitness test – if your job actually requires fitness – would be reasonable. Paying people with weight problems lower salaries is not.

  15. Galina L.
    I wonder how they measure the fatness for the police officers, I hope it is not BMI because some guys with better than average muscle tone may have their BMI in the obese range. I think they should go into the measuring a physical performance instead of measuring weight, because it doesn't matter how a police officer looks like, but how fast he runs, is he able to climb over a fence or even going out of his car fast.
  16. When your over weight, you can't effectively work well as a cop. That is a great thing to do.
  17. Anyone, police officer, pilot, fireman/woman, whoever that needs to be at the top of their game for public safety, then being overweight will be a hindrance.
    I thought of teachers and cops in the U.S. today when saw the following on a piece of art at the Philadelphia Art Museum today: "If you pay them peanuts, don't be surprised if they act like monkeys." When we hear of some--I repeat some--police officers. et al, who don't do their jobs well, we can in part blame not just bad diet, but lousy pay which often leads to bad diets.
    Reply: #19
  18. Pink Hexagram
    Like america dont have fat cops. Wait a minute, "EVERYBODY" is fat in america so by their standards its normal.
  19. That picture is great. Were did you get it. LOL

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