Two armed officers of the UK\'s Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), responsible for guarding nuclear power plants from terrorists, have won a $100K+ judgment from the Central London Employment Tribunal because their standard-issue Glock 17s were too big for their hands.
Armed British cops?
The CNC is a special police force responsible for providing law enforcement and security at or within 5 km of any relevant nuclear site and for nuclear materials in transit within Great Britain. Unlike the vast majority of police in the British Isles, CNC members usually are armed. The 750 or so constables of the force are trained, armed and have access to Heckler & Koch G36 rifles, and Glock 17 side arms.
The discriminatory case was brought by a pair of officers, Victoria Wheatley and Rachael Giles, of the CNC because they could not adequately use their guns because their hands were too small for the grips. Besides their \"ill-fitting\" Glocks, the two female officers also said there were other problems during the tests, including protection equipment which did not fit.
Miss Wheatley, 39, worked with an armed unit which protects the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria, and Miss Giles, 32, at the Chapelcross plant in Scotland. Photo from UK National Pictures
Their solicitor (that\'s lawyer to our readers here in the states), Binder Bansel of Pattinson & Brewer commented, \"Since 1997, every officer joining at the rank of Constable or Sergeant is required to train to recognized standards as an AFO and maintain the standard. There is a cycle of annual training shoots, with usually two development training days in a year and a further two development days, which conclude with a Qualification Shoot.
Continued failure at these shoot days results in an unsatisfactory assessment, which could lead to the officer being dismissed. The Constabulary failed to take the necessary steps to prevent female officers being disadvantaged.\"
The officers protected a pair of different nuclear sites in the UK including Chapelcross nuclear site near Annan in Scotland, seen in this photo courtesy of PA.
The Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in the female officer\'s favor and allowed them a judgment of ?35,000 each or about $58,000 at the current rate of exchange.
From personal experience including nearly twenty years as a firearms instructor and in law enforcement, I can tell you that not every shooter can get a 100% solid grip on every handgun. When an agency I worked for switched to Glock 22s there were several (male) officers who voiced having a hard time working the slide stop with their strong hand due to the dimensions of the gun. When instructed the proper tactical method of working a slide stop (grab with support hand, rack back and let go), their problems diminished.
Teenage Team Glock competitor Tori Nonaka hasnt had much of an issue with her G-guns, which, granted are customized, but she nonetheless has used them very well since age 15.
With training and a modified two-hand grip, most officers can handle a standard duty weapon. I personally know of a long-time officer who only has three fingers on his support hand and can still complete his standard course of fire to include demonstrated one-handed shooting with said off hand.
British Army Lance Corporal Kylie Watson, just 5\' 1\" in her issue boots, earned the Military Cross in 2010 during a Taliban ambush, with her L85 rifle in tow. The now-standard pistol of the British armed forces is the Glock 17.
Apparently there are some exceptions to the rule. Still, it seems like even if there were grip-size issue, the CNC would have made an effort to get a few smaller framed guns to experiment with. For instance, the standard Glock of the massive NYPD is the Glock Model 19, which tends to fit less meaty hands a little better and offers better concealment for plain clothed officers. Likewise, G17 mags will fit a G19, but not vice versa, which would give the officers some ability to accept extra mags in a firefight situations.
Then again, there was always the option of getting a Gen4 Model with interchangeable palm swells or using an aftermarket frame to try and accommodate the officers if nothing else.
All we can really say is rule Britannia.