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'Les trop gros bobbies devront se serrer la ceinture'

"'Bobbies' who are too fat are going to have to tighten their belts…"

That's according to a recent article in Le Figaro.

The article refers to an incident in Notting Hill last summer where a man stabbed another, in front of policemen, who failed to catch up with the culprit as he ran off. The incident was caught on camera, and re-broadcast on TV.

The film clip showed how the culprit easily outran the 'bobbies' who became quickly out of breath. A report has been commissioned, the results of which it is hoped will address the growing problem of obesity in the force.

Se serrer la ceinture (to tighten one's belt) is used both figuratively and literally in French.

  • Son médecin lui a vivement conseillé de se serrer la ceinture car il a tendance à devenir obèse. (manger moins, faire un régime)
    = His doctor strongly advised him to tighten his belt as he is tending to become very overweight.
  • En période de crise, les gouvernements demandent aux citoyens de se serrer la ceinture. (réduire leur train de vie / leurs dépenses, faire des sacrifices)
    = In times of crisis, governments ask the people to tighten their belts.
  • Les Grecs vont devoir se serrer la ceinture en raison de la gravité de la situation économique et financière de leur pays. (réduire leur train de vie / leurs dépenses, faire des sacrifices)
    = The Greeks are going to have to tighten their belts given the gravity of the economic and financial situation in their country.

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