More police fit the bill for service

PCTs are valid for two years and officers with a current certificate also get a financial bonus.Photo: Getty Images
Physical Competency Tests are valid for two years and officers with a current certificate also get a financial bonus.Photo: Getty Images
The thin blue line also appears to have a thinning waistline, as figures released under the Official Information Act reveal the number of officers unfit to serve has dropped by more than 70% in the past four years.

On March 1, 2013, New Zealand Police ordered all officers without a current physical competency test (PCT) certificate off the front line.

At the time, 361 staff throughout the country did not hold a certificate.

But that number has  dwindled to 100,  some of those being on light or restricted duties, or because of other matters such as long-term sickness leave or pregnancy leave.

In the 2012-13 financial year — when the policy for officers with no PCT to be kept from the front line was introduced — there were 414 failed PCTs recorded by officers throughout New Zealand. Last year, that dropped to 297 — the lowest number of fails since the policy was implemented.

"The number of failures is actually very low, and fall into two broad categories," police national manager wellness and safety Marty Fox said.

"The first is generally a lack of preparation at the first attempt, which in the majority of cases is corrected on the next attempt.

"The second relates to people who may be recovering from injury or illness and who are on remedial plans. While they may fail to meet the standard required, it provides our staff with an indicator of progress as we work towards full fitness and return to normal duties.

"All districts have very high rates of compliance with the PCT."

The PCT takes place over a 400m course and involves tasks such as pushing a trailer, climbing a 1.8m high wall and dragging a "body" for 7.5m.

Men aged 20 or younger have two minutes and eight seconds to complete the course, with an additional two seconds  allowed for every year of age. Women are allowed an additional 30 seconds on the men’s times.

PCTs are valid for two years and officers with a current certificate also get a financial bonus.

The 100 sworn staff without a certificate at present represented about 1% of police staff, a ‘‘very low number’’, Mr Fox said.

In the Southern district, 16 staff — including sworn officers — did not have a certificate at present.

"This includes the service centre staff based in Southern," Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham said.

"Of these 16 staff, 10 are unable to attempt PCT due to injury or surgery, three are recovering from long-term illness, two are in the process of exiting police and one has sufficiently recovered from injuries to attempt PCT but has not yet passed.

"Therefore ... less than 3% of staff do not hold a current PCT and I believe those numbers are acceptable."

"All policing districts across the country have very high rates of compliance with the PCT and Southern district is no different," Supt Basham said.

timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

Comments

I thought 55 and you gone. Apart from weight or fitness.