Police officers are fit for duty

21 July 2016

New figures released by the College of Policing show an average pass rate of 98% for police officer fitness testing. That is based on a total of 93,956 tests carried out, between September 2014 and August 2015.

Andy Ward, Deputy General Secretary for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “This data indicates that the majority of police officers are physically fit to perform their duties. The figures broadly show that the Police Service as a whole has responded positively to the introduction of annual fitness testing following recommendations from the Winsor Review, published in 2011.”

“We are aware that the figures show that several thousand officers have not taken the fitness test in the last year. 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 since 2010."

However, he also expressed concerns in relation to the impact on female and older officers, the lack of a validated alternative test and the quality of the fitness testing data published.

“The latest figures indicate that the fitness test is impacting disproportionately on women and older people. This may indirectly discriminate against those groups where it does not accurately reflect the requirements of the role. The national Fitness Testing Working Group considers the standard currently in place is likely to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim and we remain committed to seeking fairness and equality in police fitness testing arrangements”.

“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 & Wales. We will continue to work with the College of Policing and other stakeholders to assist all officers in reaching and demonstrating the required fitness capability for their role.”

In relation to data quality, Mr Ward 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”.