Blobby bobbies in St Helens facing the boot

Overweight police
Overweight police

St Helens blobby bobbies could face the boot after a probe revealed dozens of Merseyside officers can’t even pass a basic police fitness test.

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

It comes after a Freedom of Information request revealed 59 officers out of 2,983 who took the test were literally deemed not fit enough to police the public.

The exam involves a “bleep test” where officers walk and slowly jog for less than four minutes in 15m 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.

“If a normal person failed the test it would be embarrassing, never mind a policeman ‐ that’s a joke,” said a police source, who took and passed the basic exam themselves.

“When you think how much time police spend behind a desk or inside a car, it’s little surprise they are so unfit.

“But how are officers expected to catch a mugger if they can’t even run?”

Police.uk, the official Government police site, say 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.”

Merseyside Police Chief Inspector Dawn McNally said: “The Force Training Academy through our qualified Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) offer one-to-one help to all officers that are required to undertake the JRFT and proactively encourage officers to undertake ‘taster’ sessions before completing the annual test.”

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.

“Policemen used to walk the beat which would keep them naturally fit,” he said.

“But then panda cars were introduced and 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 tests were implemented last September, making it a requirement that all of the force’s officers take it.

In total 96 officers have failed the test at some point, although some may have since

Merseyside Police were unable to give the individual ranks of the officers who hadn’t passed the test but said that the majority of those awaiting a re-test were police constables.

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.