February 18th, 2010

Worrying times

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

But I’m not sure for whom.

It was so long ago when I joined the job that I can’t actually recall the whole process. I remember visiting HQ for an interview, waiting outside for 15 minutes then going back in to be told I’d got the job. I’m sure there must have been some kind of medical checkup though I dont recall it, & presumably some kind of fitness test.

Since that day until the end of my police service a year ago, I never had another routine fitness test.

I always thought this was a curious omission & never really understood it, after all, the job I was doing was one which, you’d have thought, cried out for some kind if minimum level of fitness, if only to be fit enough to defend yourself in a fight.

Not so. Which is probably why there are so many overweight officers who have difficulty walking up a single flight of stairs, let alone chasing someone. Their only tactical advantage appears to be the ability to sit on a criminal, if they are ever fast enough to catch one.

Time was when most nicks in the force had some kind of multigym where officers could, in their own time, work off some of the beers consumed the night before at the police bars/social clubs which no longer exist either.

Gradually managers realised that they could save a few quid by not buying or maintaining training equipment & that the little rooms used to house the multigyms could be put to far better use as a bean-counting office, so the multigyms began to disappear.

Nowadays you can only count on fitness training if you’re on the firearms squad as its accepted that the gucci boys need to be fit while everyone else can spend their time eating pies.

That was the past.

Now it seems someone has decided things must change. There are rumours of a new broom in the fitness stakes.

Now I can honestly say I have never done something called a bleep test. I believe this is one of the fitness tests for routine applicants to the service. Doubtless some of my younger-in-service correspondents can explain in more detail but I think it involves running back & forth between 2 points before a beep goes off, the timing between the beeps decreases & the amount of runs you can get in before the beep beats you results in a score or ‘level’.

My colleagues in the job tell me that a dark shadow looms on the horizon on the form of a compulsory fitness test for all officers which will involve mainly the bleep test.

This doesn’t present a problem to most front line officers, certainly those with under 10 years in the job, but I believe there is a significant minority who couldn’t catch a cold much less a fleeing criminal.

This presents a problem for them, the bosses or both. Firstly, the officers who are the size of Lichtenstein have no chance of passing the bleep test unless a taxi service is provided. Secondly, what are the bosses going to do with all those who can’t meet the minimum standards? Are they going to provide time training to get people up to the minimum standard? Are they going to take people off frontline policing if they are no longer deemed fit enough for purpose? Where does the liability fall if someone had a heart attack trying a bleep test for the first time in 29 years? Is the rumoured compulsory fitness test just a scare tactic to make people examine their own fitness level?

Are officers who fail to be sacked from the force, surely there aren’t enough desk jobs for all the salad-dodgers?

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