Wiltshire Police fitter than most, official figures reveal

Wiltshire chief constable Pat Geenty, who chased a suspected shoplifter in Chippenham in June

Wiltshire chief constable Pat Geenty, who chased a suspected shoplifter in Chippenham in June

First published in News by , Social media and web editor

Hundreds of police officers are failing new fitness tests which are set to become mandatory in a few weeks time, official figures show today.

But of the 138 Wiltshire Police officers taking part only one failed, giving the force a pass rate of 99.3 per cent. Only the Humberside and Surrey forces managed a 100 per cent pass rate.

Police fitness was a talking point in June when Wiltshire chief constable Pat Geenty, who is in his 50s, hit the headlines when he chased a shoplifter up Chippenham High Street.

A man in his 20s, suspected of stealing goods from Boots, ran up the High Street towards The Bear Hotel. He outran the chief constable but abandoned the goods he was carrying.

Afterwards Mr Geenty shared his experience with members of the public and police officers on Twitter, gaining over 30 re-tweets and some amused responses.

Today it was revealed that, nationwide, 352 officers fell short with two per cent failing overall in more than 13,000 tests across 32 forces, latest results from the professional standards body the College of Policing said.

After taking part in the 15-metre "bleep" shuttle run test, some 138 of the 10,265 male officers who took part, an average of one per cent, and 214 of 3,693 female officers, an average of six per cent, were unsuccessful.

The new fitness testing, which becomes compulsory on September 1, was brought in after recommendations made by Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor.

If an officer fails the fitness test at the first attempt, it is advised that at least two retakes are permitted before forces use "unsatisfactory performance" against the officer.

Rose Bartlett, recruitment standards policy manager at the College of Policing, which has released fitness test guidance for forces, said: "The results show that the vast majority of officers tested are fit.

"The new guidance issued to forces has been designed to provide supportive measures to help officers to pass and the college has now commissioned research in order to understand why women and older officers have a lower pass rate.

"The college will continue to monitor the results of police fitness tests and support forces in helping officers to pass."

The worst failure rates were seen in North Yorkshire with 16.2 per cent, Lancashire with 6.4 per cent and South Yorkshire with 5.4 per cent.

Humberside and Surrey were the only two forces to boast a 100 per cent pass rates for across all officers.

The Winsor recommendations stated that all officers should be made to take a ''bleep'' test annually, with participants having to complete a 15-metre shuttle run in shorter and shorter periods, reaching level 5.4 - four shuttles at level 5.

Today's results follow a batch of nearly 30,000 police fitness tests, published by the college in May, which showed officers had an overall pass rate of 97 per cent.

The figures from 37 forces showed male officers achieved an average pass rate of 99 per cent, while female officers achieved an average pass rate of 92 per cent.

Since the college began collecting results from forces in September 2013, which ran until May 2014, a total of 42,197 officers attended the test and 41,038 passed, giving an overall pass rate of 97 per cent.

Three officers from the neighbouring Avon and Somerset force failed the test - a pass rate of 98.1 per cent (157 passing out of 160) - while in the Thames Valley force the pass rate was 97 per cent (1,987 passing out of 2,048).

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