FoI reveals some Norfolk police fail fitness test

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Unfit police officers in Norfolk could face the boot after a probe revealed some are unable to pass a basic police fitness test.

Pen-pushing and panda cars have been blamed for the decline in the force’s fitness.

It comes after a Freedom of Information request revealed around one in 50 officers nationally failed a health MoT – meaning they were literally not fit enough to police the public.

The revelations come despite Government claims the test is easy, and should be passed by anybody with a basic level of fitness.

It involves a ‘bleep test’ where officers walk and slowly jog for less than four minutes in 15 m bursts, along with light weightlifting.

To pass the basic test officers have to reach level 5:4 ‐ which is approximately three and a half minutes – although there are higher standards for specialist coppers.

Norfolk Police says any officer who fails the fitness test and are unable to to take training won’t walk the beat.

The testing was made compulsory last September, although Norfolk Constabulary says officers in the region have been tested for years.

It is now a legal requirement that all of the force’s 1,845 officers –a figure which includes special constables – sit it.

However, several hundred officers are yet to sit it.

Of those who did, 30 failed it, although 16 passed it at the second attempt with two more passing on their third attempt.

But those who are yet to pass it could face disciplinary action down the line if they do not get into shape.

Officers usually have three attempts at passing the test. If they fail it a third time then the force can open up disciplinary actions. This could include suspension or the sack.

But Paul Ridgeway, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation – the police ‘trade union’ – said: “There are a number of officers who cannot take the fitness test but the amount who cannot take it due to unfitness is minimal (normally one or two a month and most of these are over 50)

“It is also a fact that virtually every one of these have passed it on the second time.”

He said those who cannot take the test are usually the victims of an injury – sometimes acquired on duty, perhaps while showing bravery, through illness – sometimes serious – or playing sport to keep fit.

He said: “All of these officers have to see the force medical team and it is their decision as to whether the officer takes it or not.”