Fitness Testing

The following appears on the Police Federation website:

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The Police Federation believes that every officer should be physically fit to undertake the role that they are required to perform by their chief officer. This means that they will be safe, their colleagues will be able to depend on them and the public will be protected.
We have worked with the ACPO Fitness Testing Working Group since it was set up in 2003 to develop appropriate fitness tests and standards for police officers in England and Wales.

Recruits

The group first developed a Job Related Fitness Test (JRFT) for recruits that was agreed by the Police Minister and mandated as the national standard for all recruits in HOC 43/2004. This can be found on the Home Office website on the following link:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/corporate-publications-strategy/home-office-circulars/circulars-2004/043-2004/(opens in a new window)

This test is based on the physical demands of officer safety training (OST) and replicates the demands of the confrontational aspects of the role of a response police officer. Officers undergo OST every year.

Specialist posts

The group has gone on to develop fitness tests and standards for thirteen specialist police posts; including public order, dog handlers, police divers and a range of different firearms roles. Like the JRFT, these standards were developed by specialists and validated on a diverse range of officers during training. On the 18 January 2012 the Chief Constables’ Council agreed to support the tests. The guidance for implementing these standards was subsequently issued by ACPO in April 2012 and can be found on the College of Policing website on the following link

http://www.college.police.uk/en/docs/JRFT_Implementation_Guidance.pdf(opens in a new window)

The Police Federation believes that fitness standards should be appropriate and necessary to do the job. We believe there should be a national standard that all forces are required to adopt so that when officers work together from different parts of the country they all have at least the same fitness standard.

General

Subsequent to the publication of the ACPO Guidance, an issue has arisen concerning the machines that are used to measure the push/pull element of the fitness test both for recruit and specialist tests. The machine used for the push/pull test is called the ‘Concept DYNO’ machine and unfortunately is no longer made.  Research carried out to identify a cost effective and practical alternative has proved fruitless.
The Working Group has considered this situation and in light of evidence presented concerning the failure rate of people who undertook this test, it was agreed that the push/pull element of both fitness tests should be suspended.  Assessment as to the officers’ strength should be made during the course of training, where instructors should assess whether an individual is strong enough to fulfil the role they are being trained for.  This was promulgated by a letter to all forces from ACPO.

Winsor recommendations

In his review of police remuneration and conditions, Tom Winsor made several recommendations about fitness testing. These were referred to PAB (the Police Advisory Board) for consideration by the Home Secretary. The recommendations included introducing an annual fitness test for officer’s undertaking personal safety training from September 2013 and increasing the difficulty of fitness tests to that of the Police Service of Northern Ireland from 2018.
The PAB supports the introduction of an annual fitness test, but does not support the use of disciplinary procedures for those who fail. For the recommendations about the PSNI, the PAB favoured an alternative course of action involving an evaluation of the new annual fitness test after two years, HOC 001/2013 gives the Home Secretary’s response to the PAB’s advice. The circular can be found on the Home Office website on the following link:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/corporate-publications-strategy/home-office-circulars/circulars-2013/001-2013/(opens in a new window)

Currently, the Fitness Working Group is drafting guidance for the annual fitness test for officer’s undertaking personal safety training.
March 2013

Update 27th May 2014

News article on BBC website regarding Fitness testing.  In short, West Mercia & Warwickshire currently have the second highest failure rate.  To put this in some perspective, however, this is only 5.6%.

Hundreds of police officers fail fitness test

Update 15th August 2014

Vast majority of police officers pass latest fitness tests but support is needed for those who fail, says Federation
Read more from ‘Policemag.co.uk’ …

 

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