Police officer who felt “forced to resign” locked in discrimination row over weight gain

A police officer who claims she was “forced to resign” after being “over-scrutinised” for her weight gain is challenging Surrey Police at an Employment Tribunal.

Detective Constable Rebecca Tiffin, who first joined the Police in 2001, has said that Surrey Police pressured her to pass a “bleep test” fitness exam on several occasions, at a time when she was experiencing a series of mental and physical health problems.

Ms Tiffin, who failed the test in question, told the Tribunal that her weight gain could be attributed to an underactive thyroid gland, stress, anxiety and post-natal depression – and that her employer had put undue pressure on her during a difficult time.

“I believe that I was subject to an intimidating, degrading, humiliating and offensive environment in work that related to my disabilities,” she told the Tribunal.

“I have had a longstanding history of depression, stress and anxiety conditions dating back to 2007 and more recently in 2013.

“I had been trying to improve my fitness following a running plan, but I struggled,” she said.

After failing to pass the test on more than one occasion, Ms Tiffin was made subject to an Unsatisfactory Performance Procedure – which can, in some instances, lead to an officer being subsequently dismissed.

She told a Tribunal that she felt “forced to resign” after this event and that she had been consistently discriminated against on grounds of her “disabilities”.

In response, Surrey Police said that Ms Tiffin had not made it clear to them from the outset that her failure to pass the bleep test could be attributed to her disabilities or depression.

A spokesperson added that the bleep tests had been specifically introduced as standard procedure to ensure that all officers were fit to perform at all times.

The Tribunal continues.