County officers among fittest in the country

Lancashire Police compared favourably with other forces in the UK
Lancashire Police compared favourably with other forces in the UK

We’re fighting fit!

Police in Lancashire are among the fittest in the country, according to new statistics.

These results show that the vast majority of officers tested were fit and meet the standard required of them to protect the public

In the region, 2,636 officers took the test between September 2014 and August 2015 with just 23 people failing it – a pass rate of 98.9 per cent.

The tests vary depending on the role of the officer with specialist officers such as those in firearms having to undergo more rigorous training.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “These results show that the vast majority of officers tested were fit and meet the standard required of them to protect the public. 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.”

Of all 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales the overall pass rate was 98 per cent. More than 1,800 police fitness tests were failed in the space of a year.

The fitness test is a 15 metre shuttle run - known as the ‘bleep test’ - which matches the aerobic demands of officer safety training.

Concerns were raised by the Police Federation that several thousand officers had not been tested, and that some forces had recorded significantly more tests than they have officers.

The College of Policing collated figures that showed 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 per cent were passed; while for the 67,376 times a male officer took part, 66,619 were passed - or 98.9 per cent.

National lead for fitness testing, assistant chief constable Jo Shiner, said: “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.”

Andy Ward, deputy general secretary for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The expectation is that officers who are routinely deployed in public-contact roles will undergo annual Personal Safety Training and therefore take the test.

“It is apparent that several forces have faced a logistical challenge in testing their officers, which has not been helped by shrinking police estates and limited resources to administer the tests as a consequence of cuts to policing budgets.”

The ‘bleep test’

The fitness test is a 15 metre shuttle run - known as the ‘bleep test’ - which is based on scientific research, to match the aerobic demands of officer safety training.

The basic fitness test, which 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 training. The City of London Police had the highest pass mark, with all 120 tests taken by its officers proving to be successful.