A judge has told three police forces that they must change the way they recruit dog handlers after PC Kim-Louise Carter won a landmark sex discrimination case at an employment tribunal. She was awarded £15,000 by the tribunal which decided it was unfair that she had been ruled out of becoming a dog handler because she had failed a fitness test. This test involved a ten-mile run, carrying a 35kg (5st 7lb) dog over a course and running a further 100 yards carrying the animal.

Unable to complete the test, PC Carter brought a case against Gloucestershire police force. The tribunal heard that women were under-represented as dog handlers, with Gloucestershire having only four females out of a total of 48. The force is now ‘reviewing the recommendations’. The same test is used by Avon & Somerset and Wiltshire police forces.


Perhaps they will replace the fitness tests with new categories of stroking, patting and coaxing. However, the matter is no joke, since as lawyers for Gloucestershire police pointed out, their dog handlers must be physically able to ‘track criminals over long periods of time, often over demanding terrains’. It is not a job in animal welfare or on a city farm.

Moreover, if all it takes is a woman going to an employment tribunal to upturn entry requirements for certain positions, no organisation will be safe from such vexatious legal challenges.

The police and other vital services were set up not to fulfil the demands of particular employees who fail to reach the standards required to do the job; their first duty is to the public. However it would seem that the little-regarded 2010 Equality Act has reversed these priorities, so that ‘protected categories’ must be accommodated to the detriment of everyone else.

The prospect of being rescued from a burning building or being lifted on to a stretcher by a 5ft 2in woman with scarcely enough strength to lift a cappuccino should fill everyone with foreboding. It can safely be conjectured, however, that few women will demand the right to jobs in road-mending, motorway maintenance, bricklaying, quarrying and similar male-dominated occupations. But if they can lower the standards of entry for vital public services, nothing is impossible. Perhaps new rules will ensure that no worker is allowed to get wet, tired or dirty.

As to the police, clearly they will need a change of name, for it will no longer be a ‘service’, and ‘force’ is obviously out of the question.

22 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know why the Police and armed forces still insist on timed runs as the standard. Surely it should be strength. An officer should be able to do the four main lifts-Bench, Dead Lift, Standing Shoulder Press and squat to a set weight. We really do want our defenders and rescuers to be very strong. Few women are capable of anywhere close to the strength of an average man, so it stands to reason that they would appear unrepresented when pitted against men who are much stronger than average -or should be.

    • I assume timed runs are intended to determine if the officer concerned can chase and catch a fleeing criminal/enemy. I guess from now on we will just have to hope that the person they are chasing is as slow and unfit as they are.

      • No, they will just remove the requirement to give chase on the grounds of health and safety.
        Eventually the service will become a farce and completely useless and will be shut down. Another industry feminised.

      • We have things with engines, we have cameras and even drones these days. They should take advantage of wonderful new technologies rather than running about. Any officer running more than a few hundred yards has been let down by his quarter master, or is not utilising his most important tool-his head. A dog handler has…ta da…a dog to do the chasing and that’s exactly the point of being a dog handler. The problem comes when the dog is called off and the officer must now wrestle with the criminal, or carry a man out of a ravine which is flooding.

      • A Lat thin skinny guy can run all day, but won’t produce the kind of force necessary to tackle a criminal, or carry a full grown man out of a ravine. I know this from a personal perspective. I’m not saying that being able to run a few miles isn’t necessary, but like most things we need to prepare our bodies for the worst things we will face. Luckily we have all kinds of vehicles that allow us to get to where we need to be without facing a ten mile run – and if these aren’t been supplied then something is sadly wrong. The fact is that any kind of activity is enhanced by being stronger-our bodies deliver more force with less effort and, to put it more crudely, we are harder to kill.

        • We live in a age of two-legged gerbils. The irony is that very few Plods even walk nowadays, let alone run. But the exercise is probably useful for their charity marathons wearing silly costumes and for gyrating about during carnival and pride celebrations for “look at me” YouTube fame.

          • Back in the late 70s we had a bit of gang warfare in our town centre pubs. One evening the pub I was frequenting turned into a battle ground. There were axes being swung around on ropes, motorcycle chains, crowbars amongst the improvised weaponry. With second every table was overturned and glasses were being utilised as makeshift grenades.

            It didn’t seem long before the boys in blue turned up. In their midst was their Sargent – a massively built guy who wasted no time in charging up the stairs following one group of thugs. A moment later and the bodies were being hurled down the staircase. There were no attempt at polite conversation, the big sergeant was doing his job with complete mastery, he was cracking heads and breaking bones. I was never so glad as to see such artistic handiwork. I can’t imagine that would happen with some of the lightly built boys and girls I see walking the street-they would have been ground up by the thugs we encountered that night.

  2. This sort of farce prevails throughout the public sector. Unable to fill out an application form, never mind we have counsellors; unable to carry out simple arithmetic, never mind we will drop that in favour of ‘competencies’. Competencies are based on getting an individual to tell a little story thereby allowing the public sector employer to hire the lowest of the low. Protected characteristics within ‘Equality’ is their way of weeding out the more capable but less favoured.
    How is Cressida D!ck doing as Commissioner? Crime fallen yet?

  3. The unintended consequences of Harriet’s bad law, so eagerly inflicted us on by the “Conservative” party. A gift for barrack room lawyers, trouble makers, grievance mongers and associated misfits. The new “justice” – that an offence is anything the aggrieved party or anyone else says it is – will take us way past sh•thole to Hell in a handcart.

  4. I look forward to the day when a quadriplegic can get compensation for being refused a job as a fireman!

    Sorry fireperson.

  5. Eventually the service will become a farce and completely useless and will be shut down. Another industry feminised.

  6. Insane!

    In past years there was the woman who got compensation from Plod for hurt feelings – failing a fitness test made her feel humiliated.
    The women who sued to RAF because they couldn’t march fast enough.
    The women who were in nuclear powerplant security who sued for failing their shooting tests – the guns were too big for their hands.

    Why do these women, and the courts, treat the Armed Forces and Emergency Services as if they exist soley to be emplyment agencies for interesting careers, to which they have a right?

    • Because our politicians encourage them. Since the 1970s I have watched campaign after campaign to get more women into “trades”. I’ve been interested because probably the first coincided with me leaving secondary modern school. Yet in fact there is a bit of ebb and flow but broadly these remain male. The public services are a sort of political “toy” so the numbers, of dog handlers or firearms officers or even firefighters are small in terms of the overall numbers employed making little impact on stats. but they are important to maintain the fantasy that physical attributes don’t matter. Thus our services are traduced for directly political reasons.

    • To be fair to the RAF women, they were satisfied with their initial and relatively small compo payout, but it was when external lawyers picked up on it that they were encouraged to up their claim. The other two cases though…

  7. This is no longer a problem. Public sector organisations with gender quotas will now be able to recruit pretendy women with beards and big muscles, who will count against their quotas. Problem solved. Dashed clever, these lefties.

  8. When a police officer, I saw this nonsense take root in the early 90s; so pleased to be out of it.

    The thing I dn’t understand about the damages being awarded is that four women had already passed – she didn’t, so that would suggest she was not up to the required standard, but now a review is being ordered with a intent to lower the requirements, but to whose competency? The woman who failed? What if another woman even less capable than her then fails the new course, can she sue? Where does this nonsense ever end?

  9. Ann Farmer writes: “The prospect of being rescued from a burning building or being lifted on to a stretcher by a 5ft 2in woman with scarcely enough strength to lift a cappuccino…”

    Does anyone know of any instance where this has actually been achieved by said women? Are only strong burly firemen sent into situations like that, if so, is that a conscious command decision at the scene, or a policy, or a decision by a burly fireman/men taken on the hoof to ensure they don’t get lumbered with such a predicament? Are there statistics, stories, anything, to illustrate that such women have actually done anything like that, or are the women like the one at the Grenfell Tower incident, where she hovered around inside the entrance waiting to be handed escapees yet was lauded as a ‘hero’?

    As a footnote, I observed something interesting last night while watching ‘Dragons’Den’, something I don’t usually do. A female candidate felt faint and told them she was seeing only ‘black’ and began to ‘wobble’; quick as a flash, three male ‘dragons’ leapt to their feet to aid her – the two female dragons did not react and remained firmly seated throughout. Extrapolate from that what you will, but I found it to be very telling.

  10. There’s an aspect of this which seems to have gone unremarked. I don’t have any particular knowledge or experience of the police in general or dog handlers in particular, but the only reason I can think of why a dog handler would need to carry a dog for any distance would be if the dog had been injured.

    So presumably this means that the importance of the welfare of the animals used by the police has just been downgraded.

  11. Same thing with ambulance crew – the difference between a couple of apparently unfit 50 something blokes, who lifted my husband downstairs in a chair, compared to 2 twenty something girls, who insisted he walk down, is striking.

    Luckily my husband (all 10 1/2 stone of him at the time, he’d lost weight due to illness), got over his illness, but even walking downstairs might have displaced lung clots and killed him.

    In jobs with brawn, men are much superior, and it’s no shame in saying so, it should simply be the truth. How many people will have to die from women being unable to do a job before the powers that be will recognise this?

  12. The effect of this nonsense is that small weak men who failed the course are sexually discriminated against because they do not get compensation.

    Equality is a one way street. I recently heard a reference to a “Womens Darts Champion”. How is throwing a small pointy thing a few feet an activity where women need protecting from EQUAL competition with men?

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