Police officers' fitness levels drop

Posted 01 Jun 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
Posted in Media
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Canterbury police officers have struggled to keep up their fitness after the earthquakes.

One in five Canterbury police officers has not passed a compulsory fitness test in the past two years, information released to The Pressunder the Official Information Act shows.

But the region's quakes meant the test was not a high priority, district commander Gary Knowles said.

All sworn officers, up to and including senior sergeants, are required to undergo a physical competency test (PCT) every two years.

The figures showed 86.4 per cent of officers who were required to pass the PCT had done so as of this month.

However, in Canterbury that number dropped to 78.9 per cent, the lowest of any district, excluding police national headquarters (68.7 per cent) and the training service centre (77.5 per cent).

Knowles said Canterbury's pass rate was lower than normal because of the impact of the quakes over the past 21 months.

"With the disruption to services and operations, for some staff PCT recertification has not been highest priority. However, we're now putting a focus on getting our certification levels back up," he said.

Police Association Canterbury branch director Craig Prior said he was not surprised by the region's pass rates as one in five officers probably did not work on frontline duties.

The test was important, though, as any officer could have to perform frontline duties, as shown after the quakes, he said.

"I think it's important for all members of the police to partake in it. It's a measure of an officer's ability to perform frontline duties," he said.

Police wellness and safety manager Stu Duncan said police always aimed for a 100 per cent pass rate.

He did not think the tests were too strict, saying they reflected the general fitness levels needed for the job.

Most of the officers who did not have a current pass were out by less than a year, he said.

"We're relatively pleased with that. Police have a culture of fitness and activity,'' he said.

''My view is that [the PCT] is taken seriously and it is an important part of police activity."

There were no restrictions for officers who did not pass, although those that did received a $1408 allowance.

Police human resources acting general manager Alan Cassidy said officers who did not pass the PCT were placed on a remedial programme to help them gain the level of fitness required to pass.

If they failed, they could be medically retired.

In the year from May 1, 2011, and April 30, 2012, eight people left the police because of incapacity under section 72 of the Policing Act.


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