More than 1,800 police fitness tests failed in 12-month period


More than 1,800 police fitness tests were failed in the space of a year.

Results released by the College of Policing show that the basic fitness test was passed 92,093 times between September 2014 and August 2015 - 98% of the total 93,956 times it was taken.

A lower proportion of female officers than their male counterparts made the grade. Of the 23,154 times that a woman took the test, 22,095 or 95.4% were passed; while for the 67,376 times a male officer took part, 66,619 were passed - or 98.9%.

Two forces of the 43 in England and Wales were unable to provide a breakdown of results by gender, but figures from the rest showed that 757 tests were failed by men, 1.1% of the total taken by male officers, and 1,059 by women, 4.6% of the total.

National lead for fitness testing, assistant chief constable Jo Shiner, said: "These results show that the vast majority of officers tested were fit and meet the standard required of them to protect the public.

"We know from previous years that slightly fewer female officers are passing and the College of Policing guidance on fitness tests has been carefully designed to support officers who are in this position - including advice on positive action measures such as specialised training and mentoring programmes.

"The public want their officers to be fit and able to protect them in the face of danger and these results show they are able to do just that."

The basic fitness test, that became compulsory in 2014, requires officers to run 525 metres in three minutes 40 seconds or less.

Those who fail are allowed "at least two retakes", according to College of Policing guidance - and officers who fail repeatedly can face disciplinary action.

Specialist officers including those in firearms, diving, and air support teams have to undergo more rigorous training.

Andy Ward, deputy general secretary for the Police Federation of England and Wales, raised concerns with the accuracy of the figures.

In North Yorkshire the fitness testing data stated 2,182 officers were fitness tested but the latest workforce figures (from March 2016) show 1,385 officers are in the force, according to the Police Federation.

He added: "In some forces the figures indicate that the number of officers tested significantly exceeded the number of police officers within the force.

"There remains much work to be done within the service to ensure that full, accurate and timely data is made available."

He said he is also concerned about the impact the test has on female and older officers and called for an alternative.

"The latest figures indicate that the fitness test is impacting disproportionately on women and older people," he added.

"This may indirectly discriminate against those groups where it does not accurately reflect the requirements of the role.

"Two years on, since the introduction of compulsory fitness testing for police officers, our members are keen to see a validated alternative made available in all forces across England and Wales."