FEMALE police officers saw less success in the new job-related fitness testing than their male counterparts, newly published figures have shown.
The results of more than 30,000 police fitness tests taken nationwide have been published – women saw a national average pass rate of 92 per cent, while 97 per cent of male officers who took part in the assessment passed.
The tests are being assessed by the College of Policing as forces prepare to introduce annual assessments for all officers. Figures from tests taken between September 2013 and March were submitted to the College of Policing from 39 forces.
Five forces saw 100 per cent of its female applicants pass; Avon and Somerset, Hertfordshire, Humberside, Northamptonshire and Northumbria.
Debbie Wood, who represents Sussex Police and BAWP on the National Fitness Working Group, says many forces run practice sessions for women (and indeed men) who need help passing the fitness tests.
The sessions provide a test environment – but without the pressure – and allow officers to gain expertise and coaching from other officers and staff. Her force and others also provide training plans for those who need extra support, she said.
Mrs Wood added: “Qualitative data suggests that supportive practice sessions, most of which are run by Women’s support groups within individual forces, help officers that are finding the job-related fitness tests challenging. Whilst these sessions appear to be mainly attended by women many forces have an open-to-all policy.
“The opportunity to have a go in single gender sessions and with pace makers are two examples of ways that confidence can be built. BAWP would encourage the continuation of such sessions and will be sharing best practice in due course.”
The 15 metre shuttle run is based on scientific research to match the aerobic demands of officer safety training. There is no obstacle course or upper-body strength testing. The standard is the same as that used when recruiting officers.
In September 2013 the College issued interim guidance on how police forces should implement the fitness test.
Fitness testing is in an interim phase to allow data to be examined and to understand how specific groups of individuals are performing.
The College will then use this data to carry out an equality impact assessment and make any necessary revisions to national guidance before all forces begin annual fitness testing in September following recommendations in the Winsor Review.