Friend of the motorist and Chief of North Wales Police, Richard Brunstrom, believes that the police fitness test is too easy and what’s more, should be taken throughout an officer’s career.
You might be surprised that the fitness test is taken at the beginning of a career in the police but never again (with the exception of some specialist units such as firearms). This means that the only fitness test I ever took in my near-30-year career was so far back I can’t even remember taking it or of what it consisted. I can’t really comment on the current fitness test as I’ve never seen ir and have not taken it, but on one or two of the police forums, a lot of people say it’s, er, really easy.
I did some fitness training when I was on the police support unit, but I stepped aside a few years ago to make space for some younger blood. Even then, it wasn’t a fitness test, merely doing lots of running about in hot clothing carrying large bits of heavy plastic (riot shields).
I find it strange that in a career which is often very physical, there is no means fo testing an officer’s fitness. Now I’m not the fittest bloke at the nick by any means, and hey, I’m in my late 40s so it’s kind of expected that I won’t be as fit as the majority of officers, but I reckon I’m an awful lot fitter than some of the folk out there. Some of the most overweight people I’ve met have been colleagues. I know people who can’t get up a single storey of council flat stairs without having a breather. It’s not pretty.
So what surprises me isn’t that some police chief is calling for higher fitness levels, it’s that nobody, in the last 30 years to my knowledge, has thought about it before.