Annual fitness tests for frontline officers

​Annual fitness testing for police officers has proved a hot topic of debate in forces and in the media.

The annual test, which was part of the Winsor Review recommendations and has been introduced in a number of forces in recent years, involves a 15-metre shuttle run to be completed to an endurance level of 5:4. There is no obstacle course or upper strength testing as part of the test.

In developing the work, due regard was given to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.

The test, based on scientific evidence, is designed to measure endurance and match the physical demands of officer safety training. Its aim is to ensure that officers can meet the physical demands presented to them and continue to protect the public and reduce crime.

Forces across the country have started testing officers under the national guidance. There will be no sanction for officers who fail the fitness test before September 2014.

Interim guidance, developed by the Fitness Testing Working Group and the College, was issued to forces in England and Wales last September, outlining how fitness tests should be carried out.

How the interim guidance is implemented in each force will be decided by its chief constable.

The standard is the same as that used when recruiting officers.

We will analyse the test results from police forces, in consultation with policing partners, to ensure that the test is fit for purpose and fair, and that it does not unlawfully discriminate against officers because of their gender, age or any disability.

The Fitness Testing Working Group and the College are also examining what actions could be necessary in the future if an officer continually fails the test.

The interim fitness testing guidance issued by the College for police forces has been designed to give officers the best possible support to pass the test.

For more information, see our Fitness standards page.

This article appears in the January 2014 edition of our newsletter.

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