Strong arm of the law

New plans to modernise the police force would see officers fitter, smarter – and having and work for less. Paul Peachey reports

Police officers face pay cuts if they fail annual fitness tests designed to improve standards under the most radical reforms in British policing for more than three decades. Policing unions reacted with fury to the 1,000-page report by Tom Winsor, which called for tougher entry standards and an end to the jobs for life culture by giving senior officers the power to make officers compulsorily redundant. They condemned his findings, which follows an 18-month study into pay and conditions, as part of a "deliberate, sustained attack" by the Coalition Government.

The report highlighted poor levels of fitness in the Metropolitan Police where three-quarters of policemen were either overweight or obese, a higher proportion than among the general population. Fewer female officers were overweight compared with the rest of the population, the study found.

The review called for an eight per cent cut in pay if officers failed to pass a simple shuttle-run test on three occasions. The tests – which have been criticised for setting the standard too low – are the equivalent to an average speed of 8.8kph (5.5mph) for three minutes 35 seconds, said Mr Winsor.

A more testing regime would start in 2018 under the review – ordered by Home Secretary Theresa May – which would see tests including climbing walls and pulling bodies. "We're not looking for supermen," said the former West Midlands chief constable Sir Edward Crew, who worked on the review. The study also called for cuts in the basic starting salary of a police constable from £23,000 to £19,500 while pushing for fast-track entry for talented newcomers that could see them rise to the rank of inspector in three years. Candidates from business, the military and the security services should be encouraged to apply under the scheme to try to change the culture and give the police the same standing as law, medicine or the military, Mr Winsor said. The police needed to evolve to ensure that officers could "keep up" with ever more resourceful criminals. For too long, the report said, police work had been seen as intellectually undemanding and the culture needed to change. The report calls for pay to be linked to skills and performance, with more money for officers carrying out the most demanding roles.

"It is clear that the existing pay system is unfair and inefficient. It was designed in 1920 and has remained largely unchanged since 1978," Mr Winsor said. "Officers who work on the frontline, exercising their powers as constables in the most difficult circumstances have nothing to fear from this review."

The police has "many very significant strengths, it has other features which are less worthy of admiration," he said. Any organisation which was closed to recruitment other than from the very bottom "is in danger of becoming inward-looking and insular."

His review also called for a minimum retirement age of 60 to bring the force closer to other public sector workers. Police officers can now retire on full pensions after 30 years service, clearing the way for a second lucrative career in the private sector in their 50s while drawing a full pension.

The report, which Mr Winsor said would lead to savings of £1.9bn by 2017/2018, was received with fury by the Police Federation which represents officers up to the rank of chief inspector. Chairman Paul McKeever said: "Police officers have had enough of the constant state of uncertainty and the deliberate, sustained attack on them by this government."

Peter Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the proposed reforms represented "a potentially lethal attack on the office of constable, the bedrock of British policing".

The publication of the second tranche of the review comes as forces face 20 per cent cuts. Further major changes will come in November with the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners to oversee the work of the 43 forces in England and Wales. The Winsor Review also recommended that the powerful new elected figures be given the right to appoint overseas candidates to become chief constables.

Theresa May will decide if the recommendations in the report are adopted.

Can you beat the cops? Police maths tests

Now (multiple choice)

1) A purse was found with one £5 note, four 20p coins and five 2p coins. How much did the purse contain altogether?

2) A work shift begins at 14.15 and lasts for six hours. What time does it end?

 

1959

1) A man left £6,090 to his three children. The eldest received twice as much as the next child, who received twice as much as the youngest. How much did the youngest receive?

2) Who is the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports?

 

1946

1) Describe the position, climate and chief products of any THREE of the following: Ceylon, Newfoundland, Sicily, Tasmania, Vancouver Island.

2) In what ways, other than by income tax, does an ordinary citizen contribute to the revenue of the state?

 

1930

1) Multiply 7,419 by 837.

2) What is the cost of 4 yards of ribbon if 50 yards costs 6s 3d?

 

Answers at the bottom of the page

 

Changing face of the force

Now

Physical After initial assessment, no further tests

 

Education No formal education standards required but must be sufficiently competent in written and spoken English and numeracy

 

Pension Two pensions in place. For older recruits, officers receive full pension after 30 years' service – no minimum age

 

Time taken to rise to inspector 17 years (average)

 

Entry-level pay (PC) £23,500

Future

Physical Shuttle run tests throughout terms of service. Anyone who fails three times subject to disciplinary proceedings and loss of pay. More demanding tests from 2018.

 

Education Equivalent of three A-levels at C-grade or higher, or entry as a community support officer or special constable.

 

Pension Minimum pension age of 60

 

Time taken to rise to inspector Three years (for fast track entrants)

 

Entry level pay (PC) £19,000

 

Maths test answers

Now

1) £5.90

2) 20.15

 

1959

1) £870

2) Michael Boyce, Baron Boyce (now), Sir Winston Churchill (in 1959)

 

1946

1) Ceylon (Sri Lanka): South of India, Tropical, Tea
Newfoundland: Eastern Canada, Humid continental, iron ore
Sicily: South-west of mainland Italy, Mediterranean, citrus fruits
Tasmania: South of mainland Australia, cool temperate, copper
Vancouver Island: West of mainland Canada,

 

2) National insurance, VAT, council tax, fuel excise duty and many others (now)

 

1930

1) 6209703

2) One sixpence and three farthings

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future