23 January 2017

College endorses alternative fitness tests for officers

College endorses two new alternative fitness tests for officers.

​The Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test (CTPWT) and the Chester Treadmill Police Run Test (CTPRT), designed by Professor Kevin Sykes, will give forces a choice - other than the standard 15-metre Multistage Shuttle Run (15m MSTF) currently used.

All forces in England and Wales will have the option to offer the alternative fitness tests but it will be a local decision for chief officers about whether to do so or not.

The 15m shuttle run remains the recognised fitness test and officers will not be able to state a preference for an alternative test but could apply to take it following an occupational health referral, or if they have a medical reason for not being able to complete the shuttle run test.

The CTPWT performance test has been specifically developed for officers in England and Wales to consistently match the established 15m MSFT standards required for Personal Safety Training and specialist posts.

The test consists of a warm-up and the officer is then required to walk at a brisk pace on the treadmill for ten minutes - with the gradient being increased every two minutes.

It has been designed as a reliable way of ensuring officers demonstrate they can reach the same aerobic capacity standards required for operational duties as they would by completing the shuttle run test. The tests were validated by Dr Michael Morris and his research team from the University of Chester Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition.

Officers in a number of specialist roles, such as Authorised Firearms Officers, dog handlers and police divers, can also take the test but are required to achieve a higher level of aerobic fitness to pass.

National lead for fitness testing, Assistant Chief Constable Jo Shiner, said: "The public rightly want their officers to be fit and able to protect them in the face of danger so it is important we provide them with different ways of demonstrating they can reach the required standards."

The Dynamic Intervention Authorised Firearms Officer (DIAFO) and an Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) officer roles are required to complete the CTPRT test in order to carry on performing their duties.

This test consists of an officer, following a warm-up, running a fast pace on a treadmill, with the gradient again being raised every two minutes, for a minimum of eight minutes for ARVs and ten minutes for DIAFOs.

The National Fitness Testing Working Group (FTWG) has revised the guidance currently issued on the College website to reflect the changes.

Professor Sykes, who is Emeritus Professor of Occupational Health and Workplace Fitness at the University of Chester, said: "It is pleasing and gratifying that the hard work we have undertaken, with the support of various police constabularies and the Police Federation, is now coming to fruition and that the CTPWT and the CTPRT are now recognised across the profession as a valid alternative to the Multi Stage Fitness Test.

"The original Chester Step Test was devised by myself for the UK Fire Service back in the nineties. Along with the Chester Treadmill Test, it has been used widely by them ever since.

"I am delighted that we have been able to design a similar test to help ensure that police officers continue to meet, or exceed, the necessary fitness standards required.

"I would also like to thank Dr Michael Morris and Elizabeth Parker, from the Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition at the University of Chester, for their roles in validating the study."

You can find out further details about the fitness tests on the College website.

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