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mummypatrol

Fitness Test

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So as not to digress in another thread, I am starting this one. I have no objection to fitness testing per se, but I do feel that the "bleep test" variety is a very imperfect measurement of fitness. It discriminates against older and shorter individuals, though I have passed it recently on a test run, despite being relatively old and really quite short (i.e. shorter strides than taller colleagues).

 

Is fitness testing now enshrined in regs, and does it specify it has to be a shuttle run? I have seen documents from West Midlands Police which state that they are not using the shuttle run, but will be carrying out the Chester Step Test (used by the Fire Service) during individual fitness assessments. I also recall reading somewhere that one force was using exercise bikes for fitness testing.

 

Bearing this in mind, is the bleep test itself legally enforceable? And if you pass it during a properly-adjudicated "practice" run, can you be compelled to take it again within 12 months?

 

Before a slew of replies appear with the usual arguments about the test being easy, and the need for officers to be fit, this is not about that, but rather the type of fitness tests employed and their enforceability. Thank you.

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I haven't seen the regs, but we know they will come in if they haven't actually been signed off yet.

There are two issues here, as I see it - I am not an expert but am applying common sense.

If a reg comes in it makes certain stipulations (In this case an annual fitness test, by way of bleep with consequences for failing)

That appears to be what your force are doing

It would appear other forces are acting outside regs and doing their own thing - taking a holistic approach. Herein lies the problem...the new non-Winsor policy is not in regs. I don't think there's anything stopping a force doing what they want by putting it in a force policy document - it's the consequences that are the issue. For instance the WM approach is holistic. Failure might lead to restriction (for everyone's safety). Separately, from there, restriction might eventually lead to a pay cut...so there may be issues there.

Could an officer argue they don't want to do the Chester - everyone else is doing the bleep..this is unfair...

Meanwhile, Winsor compliant forces are moving forward with ....Winsor. Someone failing that test with all the consequences, might argue they have been treated unfairly because of what is happening / not happening elsewhere. The issue is treating everyone fairly and more importantly being seen to do so....

ACPO realised this very early on and made it clear, intheir opinion, the fitness test was a one for all and all for one...or face the consequences...

Shall we add this to the list?

Obviously, the massed ranks will now descend stating 'Does it matter, it is such as simple test my great great grandfather could pass it'. A similar argument was used to justify A19 - 'Does it matter - 97 % of people retire at 30 years anyway...'

We know how that one ended!

The bottom line is it matters very much if you are one of the 3% affected...

Edited by Picard999

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The Chester Step test at least monitors your heart rate so you get a picture of how your own body is coping with it.

Do you think there will be any challenges under the Equality Act? Some people have failed it already, though you get several chances to improve.

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The Chester Step test at least monitors your heart rate so you get a picture of how your own body is coping with it.

Do you think there will be any challenges under the Equality Act? Some people have failed it already, though you get several chances to improve.

Anything new is open to challenge - sometimes I think things are only brought in to keep litigators in work..

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So as not to digress in another thread, I am starting this one. I have no objection to fitness testing per se, but I do feel that the "bleep test" variety is a very imperfect measurement of fitness. It discriminates against older and shorter individuals, though I have passed it recently on a test run, despite being relatively old and really quite short (i.e. shorter strides than taller colleagues).

I have to pick you up on this. The female 5000m world record holder Tirunesh Dibaba is only 5" 2. After a certain point, added height becomes a disadvantage in any endurance based event. If anything, with the number of turns I would suggest that being smaller is actually an ADVANTAGE in the bleep test.

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I don't think you can compare a world record holder with the average short person! She might have exceptional endurance or lung capacity which compensates for her stature.

I can run at the required speeds for way longer than 3 1/2 minutes, but the turning element makes it vastly more difficult in my experience, so clearly empirical evidence here contradicts your theory!

What level on the bleep test would equate to 5000 metres anyway?!

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MP - the bleep test is actually easier for smaller people as it's mainly about the turn and drive off for which shorter legs are more efficient. Also generally taller people are heavier so more effort needed to stop and turn.

Also monitoring heart rate is meaningless unless you know your own makeup. E.g. Power athletes can sustain a much higher heart rate than endurance athletes. People with a higher proportion of slow twitch muscle fibres will have lower heart rates than those with less.

The fair way IMO is to set the fitness level at a VO2 Max figure then each force can test how they want, and tailor it for officers who can't run/cycle/swim. As long it is a valid and recognised accurate measure of VO2 Max everyone is being tested to the same level of fitness - well that type if fitness anyway.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The taller people were definitely crossing the floor quicker with their longer strides though!

I totally agree with your point on individual testing, some of us just aren't born runners!

And apparently the entire test is only 540 metres, which shouldn't leave anyone tired, hence my argument about the killer turns!

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The fitness bleep test was originally developed in Loughborough university under the watchful eye of Sebastian Coe as a means of testing the fitness if Elite and Olympic standard athletes.

PSNI developed its use for their Elite PSU snatch squads, the super fit crazy officers that had the job of holding a small round shield, running into a riot and snatching the ringleaders and other types from the crowd.

Some bright spark at Bramshill had a display of this testing at work, realised it was a cheap, simple way of testing many people at once. So introduced it for roles that need an above average level of fitness, then someone else filled their portfolio by introducing it at the early recruitment stage. So on and so forth.

I am sure that it would be judged unlawful to discriminate against someone for failing the test. It just needs a wise lawyer to fully research the Test and its origins.

One only has to look at Private Industry to see how things should be done.

Most good private gyms that offer fitness testing prior to prescribing exercise programs use a submaximal VO2 max test i.e. Test recovery rates of the heart following exercise exertion.

This is the ONLY safe and consistent way to do it. The USA fitness industry is cluttered with litigation cases because of exercise prescription, wrong tests etc.

This bleep test is like everything else in the organisation used because it is a cheap way to text the masses in a short time frame.

Litigation will eventually rule that any test of fitness that results in sanctions for failure should be individualised and tailored to an individual. There will be an argument

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Lol, smart phones

* THere will be an argument that a gild standard only should be used, especially by a public body, that embraces diversity etc.

the bleep test is by far not the gold standard. There will be injuries, heart attacks, blood pressure rises?drops etc all will result in litigation and pain for force budgets.

i know there is a duty to be fit, however there are more aspects to fitness for patrol duty than being able to do this test.

I know some top judo players and wrestlers that would struggle to get 5.4 however they could jog run 549 mwters with ease.

its just badly thought out and implemented as per usual

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Apparently 2 inspectors have sustained quite serious tendon damage because they continued with tbe test way beyond their ability. More litigation?

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If they were told they had passed the test at 5.4, then it would suggest they were just showing off.

2 inspectors!, no real loss to frontline Policing then.

Edited by gripper

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I don't think you can compare a world record holder with the average short person! She might have exceptional endurance or lung capacity which compensates for her stature.

I can run at the required speeds for way longer than 3 1/2 minutes, but the turning element makes it vastly more difficult in my experience, so clearly empirical evidence here contradicts your theory!

What level on the bleep test would equate to 5000 metres anyway?!

It's not a theory - it's fact. Any running event that lasts over a couple of minutes is almost entirely a test of your aerobic capacity. The best runners from the mile up to the marathon tend to be average height at best or more likely quite small. The reason for this is simply efficiency. You could have a fantastic Vo2 max, but if you've got a huge frame to drag about it will slow you down.

Haile Gebreselassie (5"5) would quite literally destroy Usain Bolt (6"5) at the bleep test, and Bolt would more likely get injured in the process. I'm not sure who would make the better police officer though : )

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This could run and run - pardon the pub. ( and the poetry)

Sub maximal VO2 Max tests are arguably unfair to certain physiologies as the gap to the max is unknown and significantly greater for some than others. So I run a sub max test and just fail the threshold mark but could do a 'max' test and sail past it. More litigation?

I know there is no true max test but some tests take you closer to the max than others.

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Hmmm -  

 

"A study published in the "Journal of Sports Science and Medicine concludes that there is not a specific optimal height for sprinters, but that heights of competitive sprinters fell within an optimum range differing by sex. While both American male and female sprinters tended to be slightly taller than the average American, and very tall or very short people appeared to be less likely to be successful at sprinting,"

 

My own experience would tend to reflect this.  

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