Derbyshire bobbies face the sack as dozens fail police fitness test

editorial image

Bobbies in Derbyshire could face the boot after a probe revealed dozens can’t even pass a basic police fitness test.

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

It comes after a Freedom of Information request by the Derbyshire Times revealed one in every 33 officers were literally deemed not fit enough to police the public.

A chief inspector is among those who failed.

This is despite government claims that the test is easy and should be passed by anybody who possesses even a minimum level of fitness.

One officer has failed it three times, meaning they could face the sack.

The exam 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.

Police.uk, the official Government police site, says 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 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 mandatory testing was implemented by the force in September 2013 and all of the force’s 1,850 officers are required to sit it.

Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act have revealed a quarter of officers are yet to sit it though.

And of those who have sat it, four coppers are still facing possible discplinary action.

Officers 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.

Three officers have failed it twice without a successful re‐sit while one unspecified copper has three strikes against their name.

Derbyshire Police admit just over half of the officers who have failed the exam walk the beat in their role.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Knighton said: “We are doing everything we can to improve officer fitness levels.

“It is crucial that officers are trained to the highest level and we owe this to the communities we serve.

“We ensure that anyone who fails the test receives extra training from in-house fitness instructors to help them reach the required standard.

“The fitness instructors will continue to work with the small number of officers who failed the test to improve their fitness.”

The test came to prominence after super‐sized sergeant Andy Sharp made headlines when he was snapped on duty.