David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Friday, August 09, 2013

Police Fitness tests: Concerns over costs and fairness

The fitness testing regime proposed under Winsor’s review of Police pay and conditions will prove disproportionately costly – and will hit older officers and women, it has been claimed.
Addressing the Police Federation’s Sergeants’ Central Conference Jayne Monkhouse – who advises the staff association on equality issues – suggested that annual testing with sanctions for failure could lay forces open to discrimination claims.
The test is set initially to take the form of a 15-minute shuttle run – but is proposed to be replaced by a more demanding regime based on that used by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Officers in the province are put through a battery of tests to ensure they are able to fulfil tasks such as climbing in and out of armoured vehicles and move casualties to safety.
While pay reviewer Tom Winsor had recommended that this scheme should be set up in England and Wales in 2018, plans to introduce it are currently on ice.
But speaking during a discussion on the future implications for the sergeant rank, Ms Monkhouse warned that older officers – and older women in particular – could find themselves at a disadvantage, and suffering financially as a result of annual fitness testing.
She highlighted that those failing the shuttle run, or who could not take the test, for any reason could be hit with a wage cut.
As well as being concerned about the costs of the regime outweighing the benefits, Ms Monkhouse was concerned that the measures would be used as a means of ejecting officers from the police service “before they become old and disabled”.
She argued that not all policing roles called for the same degree of physical fitness, pointing out that pay reviewer Tom Winsor had not stated why he felt annual testing was necessary,
Ms Monkhouse told conference delegates: “The tests will have a disproportionate effect on older people and women – and particularly older women officers.
“The Winsor recommendations are designed to make the (Police Service) act more like the Army – and sergeants will be at the forefront of ensuring this happens.”
However, during a subsequent debate Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said that officers needed to maintain physical fitness.
But Sir Hugh emphasised that chief constables also had a moral obligation to their personnel, particularly those who found themselves injured and on restricted duties.
College of Policing Chief Executive Alex Marshall, who introduced annual fitness tests for his officers while he was Hampshire Constabulary chief some years ago, highlighted that very few people had failed and that the move was ultimately welcomed.

But he said that the College had to examine the implementation of a national scheme.

 Article courtesy of www.policeoracle.com 

I would point out that my former Force of Devon & Cornwall has always placed a great deal of emphasis on personal fitness, albeit not by compulsion. The Force Training College employed a full time highly qualified physical education instructor from as far back as the early 1980's. We also had a full time force Medical Officer in our Occupational Health Department. Together they would formulate personal fitness plans for officers and civilian support staff for whom it was considered necessary.  

Those presenting themselves at promotion interview boards were expected to demonstrate a superior level of personal fitness. Continuation training courses also included opportunities for exercise in the College swimming pool,  sports hall and sports field. It appeared to have many benefits both for the individual and the Force. 

The compulsion element recommended by the Winsor Report could have a detrimental effect; as I believe the important motivation for officers to undertake a personal fitness training regime is best served when they themselves perceive it is in their own best interests to maintain a high level of physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices, to best serve their career. Especially for the majority of officers serving operationally on the thin blue front line. 

 Incidentally, I still attend a gym on a regular basis as a septuagenarian and certainly appreciate its benefits only too well if I have cause for any reason to miss it for a week or two ! 

Monday, August 05, 2013

Don't Mess with the Best because the Best Don't Mess!

The Scales of
 If  you ever testify in court, you might wish you could have  been as sharp as this British policeman. He was being cross-examined  by a defence solicitor during an indictable offence  trial. The lawyer was  trying to undermine the police officer's credibility  ..... 

Q:  'Officer --- did you see my client fleeing the scene?'
A:  'No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several   blocks  away.'
Q:  'Officer -- who provided this description?'
A:  'The officer who responded to the scene.'
Q:  'A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called  offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?'
A:  'Yes, sir. With my life.'
Q:  'With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you  have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for  your daily duties?'
A:  'Yes sir, we do!'
Q:  'And do you have a locker in the room?'
A:  'Yes, sir, ... I do.'
Q:  'And do you have a lock on your locker?'
A: 'Yes,  sir.'
Q:  'Now, ... Why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow  officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your  locker in a room you share with these same officers?'
A:  'You see, sir -- we share the building with the court  complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known   to walk  through that room.'
The courtroom EXPLODED with  laughter, and a prompt recess was called. The officer on the  stand has been nominated for this year's 'Best Comeback'  line -- and I think he'll  win.


These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts and are things people allegedly said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He's 20, much like your IQ.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid
ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral...
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.