Unfit cops ordered off front line

By Hamish McNeilly

361 who failed fitness test are told they cannot deal with public.

Officers are required to pass a physical competency test (PCT) every two years. Photo / File
Officers are required to pass a physical competency test (PCT) every two years. Photo / File

Hundreds of police have been withdrawn from frontline duties and told not to interact with the public after failing a key fitness test.

Officers are required to pass a physical competency test (PCT) every two years. Just over 95 per cent, or 7270 constabulary staff, hold a current PCT certificate.

A confidential memo reveals those who do not hold a current certificate "cannot have any face-to-face contact with the general public".

Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed that from today, all constabulary employees - constables, sergeants and senior sergeants - must hold a current PCT in "order to be operationally deployed".

As of February 27, 361 district staff had no current PCT, he said.

"[Today's] change means the public can be assured that all of our frontline staff are fit and able to carry out their responsibilities."

Mr Bush said the police workforce was ageing, but staff needed to be "fitter, faster and stronger than ever".

"We do not expect that the very small number of staff not currently PCT-certified will have any effect on the frontline, meaning capability and capacity will not be compromised."

However, an officer in the southern district said "morale is real low" as a result of the crackdown.

He also issued a blunt warning about the changes. "It is the front line that is going to suffer, because these people are coming off the front line."

In the southern district, Acting Superintendent Steve Caldwell defended the decision.

"Policing can be a physically demanding job and our staff need to have the capacity and capability to be able to perform their duties effectively," he said.

Officers who pass the test get a biennial payment of $1408.


How would you fare?

The physical competency test involves completing a 400m course of tasks in this order:

Pushing a car trailer 10m.

Carrying a car wheel assembly 10m.

Running 200m.

Walking a 5m right-angle beam, 1m off the ground.

Jumping a 1.8m long jump.

Running around cones and under and over hurdles for 30m.

Climbing through a 1m high window.

Climbing over a solid 1.8m-high wall.

Dragging a body 7.5m.

Climbing a 2.2m-high wire fence.

- Otago Daily Times

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