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Are tests of Police Fitness accurate?

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Are tests of Police Fitness accurate? How a gender-neutral physical fitness test can actually discriminate Professor Craig A. Jackson Head of Division of Psychology – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Are tests of Police Fitness accurate?


1
Are tests of Police Fitness accurate? How a
gender-neutral physical fitness test can
actually discriminate
Professor Craig A. Jackson Head of Division of
Psychology
Professor David Wilson Head of Centre for Applied
Criminology
Faculty of Education, Law Social
Sciences School of Social Sciences
2
  • Winsor Review of Policing 2012
  • UK police forces urged to use fitness tests as
    large-scale
  • cost-effective measures of officers fitness to
    work
  • Commences Sept 2013
  • Gender-Neutral Timed Obstacle Course (GeNTOC)
  • Must be completed within 3min 45sec, regardless
    of sex.
  • Disproportionate female failure rate?
  • Evidence of discrimination?
  • Potential for litigation?
  • Improvements to the test process?

3

4
  • Background to the test
  • GeNTOC Indoor obstacle course
  • Gender-neutral
  • Three laps
  • Complete within 3mins 45secs
  • Each lap contains 8 obstacles
  • Re-take any obstacle failed
  • Not completed within time Fail

5
  • Obstacle Course
  • Three laps of
  • Crawl
  • Jump
  • Stairs
  • Balance beam
  • Gate duck
  • Weave
  • Cone carry
  • Body drag

6
Methods used Routine data collected by police
force Randomly selected data for
study 2004-2009 113 test sessions covered 1,701
individuals
7
Demographic breakdown of 1,701
8
Demographic breakdown of 1,701 1,701
Participants Males 914 (54) Females 787
(46)
9
Demographic breakdown of 1,701
10
Demographic breakdown of 1,701
11
Demographic breakdown of 1,701
12
Overall Performance 22.1 completed but
outside the time 23.5 total candidates
screened out
13
Total lap times (3 laps)
14
Females perform more poorly than Males
Males n914 Females n787 P
Age 27 (6) 26.5 (6) 0.09
Height cm 174.5 (6.6) 165.7 (6.7) 0.00
Weight kg 81.7 (11.9) 67.3 (10.3) 0.00
BMI 25.6 (3.2) 24.5 (3.3) 0.00
Underweight 9 (2) 8 (1) NS
Normal 359 (39) 464 (59) lt0.05
Overweight 460 (50) 262 (33) NS
Obese 85 (9) 54 (7) lt0.001
Fail to complete 8 (0.8) 18 (2.2)
Complete 3 laps 906 (99) 769 (97)
Complete in time 842 (93) 459 (60) 0.000
Lap time 1 0108 (6) 0114 (6) 0.000
Lap time 2 0106 (6) 0115 (8) 0.000
Lap time 3 0107 (6) 0115 (9) 0.000
3 lap total 0321 (15) 0346 (20) 0.000
English pop (2008) Male overweight 42 Female
overweight 32
English pop (2008) Male obese 24 Female obese
25
15
Obstacle errors
16
Overweight versus Normals excludes
"underweight"
17
  • Key Points
  • One in four candidates (24) failed the
    Gender-Neutral Timed Obstacle Course) and of
    those who passed it, 49 were overweight or
    obese.
  • 2. Test success was closely attributed to
    obstacle performance, and females were
    significantly more error-prone than males on two
    distinct obstacles, probably hindered by
    physiology.
  • 3. The test discriminated against females when
    competing to an identical time cut-off point for
    both sexes
  • 4. As such we consider the Gender-Neutral Timed
    Obstacle Course is not a useful screening tool
    for identifying unfit police officers or for
    highlighting fitness among police officers.

18
  • Summary
  • Female discrimination
  • 40 of Females fail (only 7 of Males fail)
  • Prev. Ratio - Females 8.8 more likely to fail
  • 40 Females overweight / obese
  • 59 Males overweight / obese
  • Weave obstacle poorer than males (P0.008)
  • Body drag obstacle poorer than males (P0.000)

19
  • Summary
  • Weight indiscrimination
  • Only fails 25 of all candidates
  • 80 with normal BMI pass
  • 75 of overweight / obese BMI pass
  • Of 1,302 completing within time
  • 1 underweight
  • 50 normal weight
  • 43 overweight (of these 75 were males)
  • 6 obese (of these 80 were males)

20
Implications Officer health Not enough Female
officers being recruited Not enough unfit
officers screened out Overweight officers at
increased risk of Musculoskeletal
hazards Cardiovascular disease Psychosocial
issues (shift work) Personal protective equipment
failure
21
Implications Law enforcement Loss of public
confidence Inability to police effectively Crime
detection Crime prevention Public order General
poor level of policing
22
  • Solutions
  • Adopt a different test
  • If not, then make changes to current test
  • Widen weave obstacles
  • Re-order some obstacles (Body drag)
  • Use different cut off times for sexes
  • Use exam conditions
  • Suitable clothing / uniform
  • Allow practices

23
Jackson CA, Wilson D. The Gender-Neutral Timed
Obstacle Course a valid test of police fitness?
Occup Med (Lond) 2013 63 (7) 479-484
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