Could you do South Yorkshire Police’s fitness test?

Howard Webb
Howard Webb
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Police officers are being put through their paces by their bosses to prove they are fit for the job.

But the tests are not proving popular with everyone - with some officers injuring themselves in the fight to get fit.

Concerns have been raised by South Yorkshire officers after two inspectors injured themselves during their tests, with one slipping on a puddle of sweat on the floor.

Neil Bowles, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said both colleagues were fit and keen runners – but one may no longer be able to race again after damaging his Achilles tendon.

Mr Bowles said: “They are two very fit officers. One was a health and safety issue about the wetness of the floor – sweat gathered on the floor and he fell on the wet surface.

“The second one was possibly pushing himself too hard, because he had gone way above the level required for that test.”

Forces are asking staff to perform tests, including 15-metre shuttle runs to measure their endurance, after a recommendation by Tom Winsor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

The bleep tests, which involve officers having to complete 35 shuttles over a total distance of 525 metres, in about three minutes and 30 seconds, were introduced nationally last month, but have been in place in South Yorkshire on a voluntary basis from March.

Officers are expected to pass the test every year.

From 2014, those who fail the test three times will be subject to disciplinary procedures.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the test was introduced early to ‘dispel myths and reassure staff as to what was required’.

She said no officers have been injured since September and Chief Constable David Crompton had passed the test twice.

She said: “From September 2014, if an officer cannot pass the test, they will agree upon a development plan and retake the test.

“If they remain unsuccessful, they will be placed on the Unsatisfactory Performance Procedure.”

Premier League referee Howard Webb, a sergeant with South Yorkshire Police, is thought to be one of the force’s fittest officers, with all Football League referees put through fitness tests, including six 40-metre sprints in under 6.2 seconds, followed by 20 150-metre runs in 30 seconds, with 35 seconds rest between each one.

Mr Bowles said officers in South Yorkshire were in favour of a test, but the federation had asked for an alternative to the bleep test.

He said: “The federation believes every officer should be fit to undertake the role they are required to perform.

This means they will be safe, their colleagues will be able to depend on them and the public will be protected.

“But it needs to be relevant to the role performed. How does a bleep test, running back and forth between two points 15 metres apart, reflect this? Not many people we chase would do that.”