Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police Federation calls for fitness test review

A police federation has questioned the suitability of using bleep tests to check officers' fitness levels after two officers injured themselves.

One officer "snapped" his Achilles tendon while completing the test, which involves 15-metre shuttle runs.

Neil Bowles, from the South Yorkshire Police Federation, said he had concerns over how it was "job specific".

South Yorkshire Police said both officers were injured while trying to set scores above the required standard.

Police officers in England and Wales were told in September they would have to complete annual job related fitness tests (JRFT), though South Yorkshire Police began voluntary testing in March.

Under the test officers have to reach a required level in the bleep test, which involves completing a series of shuttle runs at ever increasing frequencies.

Both officers were injured before mandatory testing was introduced.

'Foot gave way'

Mr Bowles said: "The federation supports [fitness testing] because we have got to be fit to look after ourselves and the public.

"My concern is how [the bleep test] is job specific? Not many burglars you chase actually then double back on themselves.

"It's mainly a health and safety issue.

"They were both very fit officers and they run and compete in their spare time.

"One, I know, occurred in an unventilated room in the middle of the summer. Sweat was gathering on the floor and he just trod in it and his foot gave way snapping his Achilles."

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police said it introduced testing in March "to dispel myths and reassure staff as to what was exactly required" of the examination.

She said: "Between March and July, two officers did receive injuries whilst completing the JRFT. Both had achieved the required standard and were attempting to achieve a higher score.

"Since September 2013 no injuries have been recorded by officers completing the JRFT."

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