Officers furious at 'woke' demand to cut police fitness test
Police Federation equality lead Ian Saunders has “raised concerns” about the National Police Chiefs’ Council sticking to the current standard on the multi-stage fitness test - commonly known as the shuttle run - after he said its own commissioned research said it should drop.
The current fitness test requires police officers in operationally deployed roles to score 5.4 on the bleep test, but Mr Saunders said it should be reduced to 3.7 after the NPCC commissioned research to establish the physical requirement to undertake frontline training.
Writing on the federation’s website, Mr Saunders said the 5.4 requirement is “no longer sustainable.”
He added that keeping the fitness standard at 5.4 – already described by serving cops as too low – then the NPCC was “making a decision so reckless as to the impact on older women” that it “qualifies as an example of what institutional sexism is.”
But a serving police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, accused the federation of “virtue signalling” with this demand.
The officer, who works in a busy Met Police team, said: “When I go out onto the street, I want the confidence that my colleagues can and will protect me.
"This new so-called fitness standard puts the lives of police officers and the public at risk.
"It’s a shame the Federation that is meant to look out for police is more interested in political virtue signalling.”
They added: “First the strength test was dropped in 2016, and now the fitness test has been reduced to a level that an unfit tortoise could reach. Sir Mark Rowley has called for higher standards in policing, but it seems like they can't go any lower.”
The officer said that they could probably reach a 3.7 score on the fitness test without needing to run, adding that the shuttle run distance for police fitness assessments is just 15 metres, not the usual 20 metres used in other institutions, such as the military.
Rory Geoghegan, founder of the Public Safety Foundation and former police officer, said: “Being a frontline police officer is a physically demanding job. The fact that anyone is even considering lower fitness standards is utterly mad.
“We should be raising standards to improve officer safety, public trust and confidence, and to ensure we have a police force fit for the job.”
Mr Geoghegan added: “While most serious police forces around the world have fitness tests for recruits that go some way to reflecting the physicality of the job - such as chasing and dealing with suspects - England and Wales remain wedded to an artificial bleep test.”
Retired and serving police officers responded to the Police Federation’s post of Mr Saunders’ post on X, formerly Twitter, with anger.
One former bobby said: “In 1991 the fitness test for entry into the Police consisted of running 1.5 miles within 15 mins regardless of sex or age.
“If you failed you were binned.”