‘Bleep’ test too taxing for hundreds of officers

Hundreds of police officers have failed new fitness tests which are due to become mandatory later this year, official figures show.

Humberside was one of only two forces to boast 100 per cent pass rates for both male and female officers, the other being Northumbria.

Interim results submitted by 39 forces to the College of Policing showed that 851 officers fell short, with three per cent failing overall in more than 30,000 tests.

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After taking part in the 15-metre ‘bleep’ shuttle run test, some 253 of the 22,078 male officers who took part and 598 of 7,969 female officers were unsuccessful.

The new fitness testing becomes compulsory in September having been brought in after recommendations made by Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor.

The worst failure rates were in Suffolk (seven per cent), West Midlands (5.8), West Mercia/Warwickshire (5.6) and Gwent (5.5).

Data is still not available for the Metropolitan Police, the country’s largest force, Lancashire, Gloucestershire and Cumbria.

The Winsor recommendations stated that all officers should be made to take a bleep test annually, with participants having to complete a 15-metre shuttle run in shorter and shorter periods, reaching level 5.4 - four shuttles at level 5.

Officers with special units are expected to perform at higher levels, with dog handlers required to complete level 5.7 and firearms officers able to do level 7.6.

Mr Winsor also recommended that from 2018 the tests should be made harder, using challenges based on scenarios officers might face on duty, but this is being considered by the College of Policing in case it negatively impacts on women.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Price said: “The results to date are encouraging and show the vast majority of officers tested are fit. Police forces are sending their results to the College on a quarterly basis and an equality impact assessment is being carried out on those results.”

New guidance will be issued to forces later this year to help officers pass the test, he said.