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Officer Fitness (4321_13)

Request / Response

  1. Please provide details of any kind of fitness test police officers must undergo. This includes information on what the test entails, what the frequency of these tests are and what kind of officers must take them.

All prospective applicants to join the Dog Section, Firearms Unit and the Operational Support Unit are required to successfully complete a fitness test as part of the selection process. All officers within these units are required to successfully complete a single fitness test annually thereafter.  The fitness test all police officers undergo can be found via open source (see below); however differing roles within the Police Service require differing levels of achievement.

Please note: The link is for the initial fitness test, this test is essentially the same test used by the above mentioned Units, but to a higher level for various roles within the police.

Fitness tests within the Dog Section, Firearms Unit and the Operational Support Unit consist of the Multi Stage Fitness Test (MSFT). This is also commonly known as the
‘Bleep Test’ and involves running back and forth between two lines, 15m apart, in time with pre-recorded ‘bleeps’. The time between the bleeps progressively reduces for each new level, and this provides a scientifically proven method of testing maximal cardio vascular fitness.

Dog Section officers are required to annually complete the test to level 6.3. Officers new to the Firearms Unit are required to complete the test to level 9.4, and experienced officers are required to complete it on an annual basis to level 10.5.
Officers with the Operational Support Unit are annually required to complete the test to level 6.3, in line with public order capabilities. However, the fitness test on this unit has not been undertaken since 2011 due to awaiting national decisions regarding fitness levels. Additionally, prior to 2011, the Dog Section and Operational Support Unit fitness tests included a gym-based obstacle course, which replicated operational situations.

The Physical Competency Assessment (PCA) consists of a series of obstacles, which mimic the obstacles that an operational police officer may have to navigate in a foot chase. The circuit must be completed (3 laps) in 3 minutes 45 seconds or less.

The circuit covers a total distance of 300 metres. Each lap contains 8 activity stations, which must be completed sequentially, then moving on to the Push / Pull machine

After the circuit, candidates will be asked to complete an assessment of pushing and pulling. This device has been purpose built and scientifically validated to simulate struggling with an assailant. The assessment is of 20 seconds, where a minimum of 20kg of force (average) must be achieved over the time span

2) From the last 12 months, please supply the number of police officers who have failed the most recent fitness test at least once. Please offer a breakdown of which unit these officers were in.

Please supply this information as raw numbers as well as the percentage this number represents.

Across the Dog Section, Firearms Unit and the Operational Support Unit one officer has failed the annual fitness test during 2012.
In preparation for the Winsor recommended fitness test, we have tested across the Force 256 volunteers, 253 individuals passed with just – 3 not achieving the desired standard.

3) From the last 12 months, please indicate whether the most recent fitness test was under the new fitness tests (I am referring to

The new fitness tests have not yet come into force.

5) From the last 12 months, please provide the number of police officers who have received a punishment for failing fitness related tests. Please provide, in as much detail as possible, the punishment for this failure and the nature of this failure (e.g. missed bleep test by X seconds, received fine). Provide details for the final part of this request only if it does not contradict the FOI Act.

No officers have received a punishment for failing fitness related test. Where subjects are unsuccessful at test, they are afforded the opportunity to formulate an appropriate development plan with PTI staff. This is subject to review by the officer’s line managers in consultation with PTI staff and Occupational Health Unit if appropriate. If there are no underlying health concerns they will remain operational, otherwise the normal policy for medically restricted officers will apply.

They will be expected to retake the test within a reasonable timeframe. Should an officer fail to successfully complete the retest, then further consideration will be given to the officer’s suitability to remain in their role.

4) From the last 12 months, please indicate the number of people training to join the police who fail the fitness tests at least once. As with above, please indicate what these tests entail and what the number of failures represents as a percentage.

Police Officer recruitment was suspended in 2010 and therefore there is no recorded information held

5) From the last 12 months, please indicate the money spent on training police officers who are considered overweight or below the standard of health/fitness required.

This is not recorded, but would be minimal.  Due to the nature of the Authorised Firearms Officer role, police officers need to be volunteers to join the Operations Firearms Unit and would therefore ensure that they are fit for role when applying (in the majority of cases). The ethos of the Operations Firearms Unit is that there is a much higher expectation of our Authorised Firearms Officers to keep themselves fit for role.

6) If this request falls within compliance costs, please provide the number of police officers who are classed as overweight and obese according to the BMI scale. If the force keep data on police weight without using BMI as a scale, then please provide data for police officers considered overweight using your scale.

There is no recorded information held