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Fitness test plan for all police
All police officers should be made to take an annual fitness test, with a pay cut for those who repeatedly fail, a review has said.
Tom Winsor, who has carried out the widest-ranging review of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years, said those who fail the test three times should be subject to disciplinary procedures and a pay cut.
Chief constables should be able to make any officer redundant as part of budget cuts, ending the prospect of a job for life, the report said. It also recommended that applicants should be able to enter the police service directly at inspector rank, and, "after rigorous testing", at superintendent rank.
Mr Winsor said: "It is clear that the existing pay system is unfair and inefficient. It was designed in 1920 and has remained largely unchanged since 1978." But he added: "Officers who work on the front line, exercising their powers as constables in the most difficult circumstances, have nothing to fear from this review."
Mr Winsor said: "I think the public will be surprised that after passing a fitness test at the point of entry, except in special units like firearms, physical fitness is not tested again in a 30, 35-year career."
An initial annual test requiring officers to reach level 5:4 on the bleep test should be brought in by September next year, he said.
This is equivalent to an average speed of 5.5mph for three minutes 35 seconds, he said. But this should get tougher by September 2018, along similar lines to the test currently used in Northern Ireland. This includes climbing over walls and pulling bodies and was designed to reflect situations which "police officers do and can become involved in".
In the Metropolitan Police, more than half (52%) of its male officers are overweight, a fifth (22%) are obese, and one in 100 are "morbidly obese", the report showed. For women officers in the Met, a third (32%) are overweight, 16% are obese and 2% are morbidly obese.
Former West Midlands chief constable Sir Edward Crew, who worked on the review, said: "We are not looking for supermen."
Mr Winsor predicted that many officers would welcome the proposals, saying they would see it "as a necessary protection for themselves and the public".