Almost 2,000 pairs of trousers with waist sizes of 40 inches or more were handed out to police officers by the PSNI over the past five years, it has emerged.
The trousers, 1,836 pairs in total, all had waist sizes of 100 centimetres or more, which, according to the NHS would increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer for men.
The figures are for trousers that were distributed to male officers only over the past half decade.
In response to questions posed by the Londonderry Sentinel, the PSNI said: “1,836 pairs of standard uniform trousers have been issued to police officers with a waist size over 100 centimetres. This is male officers only – we do not have any female sizes over 100cms.
“Maternity trousers are not included.
“1,836 does not necessarily relate to the number of officers as officers are usually issued with four pairs of trousers.
“It may also include replacement trousers for those trousers which have been damaged in the course of policing duties.
“This figure does not include made to measure trousers as PSNI are not in a position to identify from our records the reason(s) why the standard size product wasn’t available.”
According to the NHS these waist sizes are not healthy.
“Most people are apple-shaped or pear-shaped. This means that when you put on weight, the fat is either stored around your hips (pear-shaped) or around your middle (apple-shaped).
“If you’re overweight and apple-shaped, you have a higher risk of health problems than if you’re pear-shaped,” an NHS information guide states.
It goes on to identify exactly when sirens should be going off.
“You have a higher risk of health problems if your waist size is: more than 94 centimetres (37 inches) if you’re a man; more than 80 centimetres (31 inches) if you’re a woman.
“Your risk of health problems is even higher if your waist size is: more than 102 centimetres (40 inches) if you’re a man, or more than 88 centimetres (34.5 inches) if you’re a woman,” the guide states.
The police service requires student officers to pass the Physical Competence Assessment (PCA) prior to entry to the college and to maintain the required fitness standard.
There are many and varied roles within the Police Service of Northern Ireland, each requiring a certain level of physical and mental wellbeing and resilience. In addition, for safety and effectiveness, physical competence is necessary to carry out the role requirements.
The Recruitment PCA (2015/2016) reflects the physical operational requirements of a police officer and it comprises a number of activities such as running, crawling, climbing, balancing, lifting, carrying, dragging and weaving.