A government commissioned review into the police force in England and Wales has recommended that police officers undergo annual fitness tests and those who fail the test three times should face pay cuts.
The review was conducted by Tom Winsor, a former rail regulator, who found that nearly three-quarters of policemen in some areas are obese. Winsor added that the public would be surprised to know that the physical condition of the police force is never assessed.
The report recommended that the police force, including senior ranks and chief constables, undergo annual fitness tests starting from 2013. While initially the tests should comprise "shuttle runs", running sprints on a 16 yard track, they should be upgraded to more stringent tests from 2018 including crawling, jumping, balancing on a beam, climbing over a wall and dragging a body.
The report stressed that it was not looking for "supermen" but just to make sure that the police is able to conduct its job effectively. "Running after a suspect, or apprehending a violent or disturbed person, requires physical fitness and strength. A non-specialist officer who cannot do these things is incapable of some of the most elementary parts of police work, and when deployed may be a danger to himself, his colleagues and the public", the report said.