Blobby bobbies - Probe reveals dozens of cops ‘too unfit’ to police public
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 81 officers were literally deemed not fit enough to police the public.
And some coppers face the chop after flunking the exam multiple times, including one who failed a staggering four times.
The revelations come despite top brass claims that the test is easier than before.
The new-look health MOT involves a ‘bleep test’ where officers walk and slowly jog for less than four minutes in 15 metre bursts, along with light weight lifting.
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.
Thames Valley Police admit all of coppers who failed would be expected to walk the beat in their jobs.
“If a normal person failed the test it would be embarrassing, never mind a policeman - that’s a joke,” said a police source, who took and passed the basic exam themselves.
“When you think how much time police spend behind a desk or inside a car, it’s little surprise they are so unfit.
“But how are officers expected to catch a mugger if they can’t even run?”
Police.uk, the official Government police site, say the test is designed to simulate day-to-day police activities such as foot chases and apprehending suspects.
The official site also boasts that the new test is “considerably easier than it once was” and “most people with a basic level of fitness should be able to pass it with very little training.”
John Ponter is a former high-ranking Yorkshire police officer, who worked on several major cases during his career such as the Hillsborough disaster and several murders.
“Policeman used to walk the beat which would keep them naturally fit,” he said.
“But then panda cars were introduced and and officers started doing more paperwork and overall there’s probably been a major decline in fitness throughout the force.
“Police fitness needs to be monitored, it is a physical job and they need to be fit to do that physical job.”
The new tests were implemented last September, making it a requirement that all of the force’s 4,466 officers sit it.
However, around one in seven are yet to take the exam.
Of those who did, 81 failed it, including two inspectors.
One unspecified officer failed three times and another who failed four.
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.
Yet despite calls to keep more of an eye of officer’s waistlines, several forces - including the City of London and Northamptonshire Police - are yet to implement testing.
Some forces, including Bedfordshire Police, refused to disclose results.
The test came to prominence after super-sized sergeant Andy Sharp made headlines after he was snapped on duty.
Colleagues defended the rotund officer - with some saying the portly PC wasn’t even the fattest on the force.
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said the figures are misleading: “The test is taken by officers from across the Force who fulfil a variety of roles and almost 98% of those tested passed first time, and the vast majority went on to pass the second time.
“TVP offers support to the minority of officers that did not pass first time, from the Force’s Occupational Health Service and its’ Physical Development Services, to enable them to reach the standard of fitness so that officers can perform frontline duties.
“The annual mandatory test is the traditional timed bleep test - running to and fro on a 15-metre track up to a certain level. The fitness test is a requirement for all police forces and is set by the Home Office,” the spokesman added.
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