June 17th, 2011

Porkers’ Paradise

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Every year someone suggests it’s about time police undergo fitness tests.

It was always something of a surprise that throughout my 30-year career, the only fitness test I had occurred before I joined the job. I never had another.

Being on the Police Support Unit meant to you had to do a certain amount of running around with a riot shield, but it wasn’t a formal test. Although I played rugby through my career & kept a reasonable level of fitness, I was never fitter than when I was at training school. We used the gym most days & I stayed at weekends when most people went home. There wasn’t much else to do at the weekends other than sport.

Of course, in those days, there were no ‘human rights’, it was a disciplined service & if the drill sergeant told you to run the premister of the training school backwards whilst doing 20 pushups every 100 yards, you did it.

Nowadays, there is no discipline, and if you don’t want to reach a certain level on the bleep test during your riot training, well so what?

The Daily Fail are talking about a new annual fitness test being introduced as part of the review on pay and conditions. If it comes in it won’t be a year too soon but will probably be a couple of decades too late. The amount of  people who can’t even walk up the bloody stairs at work is amazing.

There was a time when keeping fit was encouraged. Officers could represent their force in inter-force competitions on job time. Every other police station had a multi-gym. Things have changed. Time off for sport ended years ago. The multi-gyms were ripped out t make room for bean counters. Nothing was said if you quickest move you ever made was getting your Maccy-D from the police car to the canteen.

It remains to be seen whether an annual fitness test will be introduced and how each force will deal with the lazy, fat & uninterested. They’ll either make the pass so low as to make the whole process a waste of time, or just let people do it if they want, otherwise they’ll get a rash of unfit officers suing them because they feel humiliated for not passing a basic level of fitness.

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  1. shazbot says:

    I’m in favour personally.
    The level at which they set the bleep test for new entrants was based on the average fitness of a 20 year old, 5.4
    This is pathetic but on a good note as an old cop carrying a few rugby related mot failures even i can pass it.
    The problem will be when the first challenges go in. Things like ‘i never run around the CID office, the job do not provide me with a gym or membership etc.Also what do you do about an officer who has a medical issue but does a good job, Equality act 2010 anyone.
    They brought this in in Hants pol recentlty and i think it has brought on a few issues

    June 18th, 2011 at 10:23

  2. jaded says:

    Theoretically this is a great idea,but what do you do with the large percentage that will fail? Sack them? Take them out of the front line?Don’t think that will happen,we are short enough as it is.We all know the ones that will mainly fail will be the senior officers and the women,you can’t get rid of them.
    Make the initial recruiting much harder (mental and physical) and hopefully recruits will try and stay fit for the rest of their career.

    June 18th, 2011 at 11:42

  3. Ruf says:

    It has to be said that 5.4 is absolutely pitiful as a minimum standard. I (mid-30s, front row forward, heavy smoker, thinks that not training is the best way to avoid training injuries) managed better than that the one season that I inadvertently turned up at a training session with my kit in the car (after eating a heavy meal).

    June 18th, 2011 at 14:11

  4. Simon says:

    IMO there should be a minimum fitness and the level should realistic ie a rozzer should be able to run after and catch an unfit MOP/Criminal. If you can’t pass a fitness test, lose some pay.

    I as a Soldier had to pass fitness tests.

    An unfit Soldier cannot do his job

    An unfit Rozzer cannot do his job

    I’m not anti Police, I fully support you and the above is not me having a snide dig at the Police :-)

    June 18th, 2011 at 15:46

  5. Staff says:

    I don’t think the public realise the police has many desk jockey stay inside officers who find it difficult to pass 4pm before going home, nevermind a fitness test.

    June 18th, 2011 at 18:08

  6. Blueknight says:

    There was no fitness test when I joined in 1975, but the average 21yr old was fitter then than now. There was a height limit in force so an ‘unfit’ Officer in those days may have had grey hair and a beer gut, but he was probably 6 ft tall and would have had a presence about him. In 20-30 yrs time the same will not be said of someone who began the job with small build and stature.
    Structured Public Order Training began in the very early 80s, as a response to the 1981 riots and all PSU members had to pass the physical.
    The attraction of PSU, EGT and House entry was the days away from Division and the overtime and that was why the Officers stayed fit in their own time.

    June 18th, 2011 at 21:54

  7. Gary says:

    I joined the police from the Army in 1983. The first surprise I had was the fitness test. There wasn’t one. I had for 6 years been used to having regular fitness tests and failed to understand why the police service should be differant. I soon realised that personal fitness was not something the police service held in high regard. Yes our HQ had a fully equipped gym but nothing on Division 30 miles away. To be fair after a hard 12 hour day who fancies going to a gym?
    I would welcome fitness testing providing that facilities are provided with qualified trainers and importantly the time made available to take part. As a bonding exercise a whole shift working together on a training programme would reap great reward. It is quite possible to allow older officers additional time to complete an exercise and still gain a level of fitness

    June 19th, 2011 at 11:05

  8. as ex as ex can be says:

    A few years ago I left the Met and joined an Australian force as a lateral entrant.
    We went through the recruit school in parallel with ‘regular’ recruits but all had to pass the fitness tests that were all conducted on one day, these were a 2,4km run followed by a obstacle course followed by a weighted dummy drag. All these tests had to be completed under a certain time.
    As a 43 year old at the time I was given, as I recall, 13 ½ minutes to complete the 2.4km run. The regular recruits were given a target of 11 ½ mins to complete the run.
    Off I set and did my usual thing of jogging along and not stopping which had served me well in the Army’s fitness test for 9 ½ years.
    I completed the run in 10.15 mins with no probs at all.
    What did shock me was that there were regular recruits who were literally half my age giving up after two or three laps of the track, in one case throwing up and collapsing.
    On the obstacle course there were steps that were only to be used by the female participants and were verboten for the males, but don’t get me started there.

    June 20th, 2011 at 01:23

  9. rafanon says:

    5.4? That doesn’t even give your body time to warm up! lol.

    At nearly 40 in the RAF, I have to get 8.9 which is realtively easy too!

    June 20th, 2011 at 12:03

  10. PETE THE PLOD says:

    Two sides of the same coin here,SIDE 1/ i am not averse to a minimum fitness level but if that is required then time should be given over for officers to maintain this level , as gary says , facilities and time during duty would be acceptable .As most cops know we give more than enough time outwith ‘paid’ hours and social/family life disruption to spend even more time sacraficed to the cause. it is also a fair argument that physically fit leads to mentally fit so officer and public would benefit ,more alert , less sick days , better performance ,greater officer presence , combat stress and so on.It makes sense but the one way street of ‘duty’ and ‘expectation’ should not be allowed to prevail without assistance to achieve the expected standards.SIDE\2 ,we also all know that an officers best weapon/asset is there mouth , do you need to be a marathon runner to communicate effectively? do yo need all that muscle if you can talk someone down ?does your sheer mass (however it be shaped ) deter or diffuse a situation?No easy answer is there , so it may seem that all our differences put toghether make us effective , room for everyone you might say !!

    June 20th, 2011 at 20:27

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