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Britain’s nuclear police force recruiting ‘fitness champions’

Nuclear police recruit ‘fitness champions’ in bid to reduce sickness http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/07/nuclear-police-recruit-fitness-champions-bid-reduce-sickness/  crime correspondent 7 MAY 2017  The police force responsible for keeping Britain’s nuclear power stations safe, has recruited keep fit gurus in a bid to reduce the number of sick days its officers are taking.

Officials at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) became concerned after the force repeatedly failed to make its annual target on staff sickness.

So-called “fitness champions” will now offer advice to colleagues on a wide range of issues, such as how to achieve and maintain peak physical condition, how to avoid injury and even what to eat in order to stay healthy. They will be recruited internally, but will receive special training, in the hope that they can help reduce the current average of 12.8 sick days a year, per officer.

In addition the force is increasing the amount of money spent on physiotherapists to help officers who suffer injuries get back to work as soon as possible. Despite having many of the same powers as ordinary police officers, those who serve with the CNC are not allowed to retire at 60, in line with their colleagues in the 43 Home Office forces.

They have argued that the physical nature of their role means they cannot guarantee they will be able to fulfil their duties beyond the age of 60, putting the public at risk.

But new rules mean they will have to work until 65 and eventually 68, before they are entitled to claim their pension.

Established in 2005, the CNC has more than 1,250 armed officers, who patrol all non-military nuclear sites – including the 14 atomic power stations – and keep them safe from terrorist attack.

The highly trained specialists can also be deployed at short notice to assist with any large scale national emergencies in order to bolster the number of armed officers on the streets.The move comes at a time when CNC officers are embroiled in a long running battle with the Government over their retirement age. While they have the same powers of arrest as ordinary warranted officers, the role of a CNC constable is very different, and when not out on patrol spend a large amount of their time undertaking rigorous training exercises.

They provide a round the clock ring of steel around nuclear establishments and must be prepared to repel any form of attack by terrorists.
In addition they are also expected to accompany nuclear materials being transported within the UK and further afield.
Given the risks of working in close proximity to nuclear material, officers are also regularly checked for exposure to radiation and carry dosage meters on them at all times. The CNC’s most recent annual report, revealed that the force had failed to meet its sickness target of an average of 10.5 days for the past five years running.

Officials discovered that rather than illness an increasing number of officers, were being signed off work with injuries, picked up due to the physical nature of the role.

Carrying almost 50 lbs in kit, the officers are susceptible to back injuries and other musculoskeletal complaints.

The introduction of fitness champions is intended to provide more support for those officers who are struggling with the physical demands of the role

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May 8, 2017 - Posted by | employment, UK

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