Police recruit more women with amended fitness tests

The revised police fitness test, introduced earlier this year to make it
fairer for female candidates, is helping the force recruit more women officers.

Since the test was made easier in April this year, Greater Manchester Police
has seen the number of female recruits rise to almost half the entire intake.

The Cambridgeshire force has also seen improvements, with the pass rate for
female officers rising from 50 per cent to 100 per cent.

The Home Office changed the fitness test for all 43 forces after research
revealed a hugely disproportionate pass rate between male and female recruits.

As a result, the bleep test requirements, where recruits run between two
points at an increasing rate of speed, was reduced for female candidates.

The standards expected from a speed and agility test have also been lowered,
while an endur-ance trial, where candidates had to weave through cones, has
been scrapped.

Following the changes, 42 female recruits have joined the Manchester force
since July – just two less than the number of males.

Andrew Marston, personnel director at Greater Manchester Police, said that
altering the test had helped to improve recruitment rates of women.

"We are dedicated to being representative of the community we serve and
this dramatic expansion in the number of female recruits is a further step
towards achieving this," he said.

"Obstructions in the female fitness test have been removed, and we are
currently offering advice to potential recruits at every stage of the recruitment
process."

The Metropolitan Police Service has also seen improvements, and while there
are no definitive figures as yet, a fitness instructor within the force said
that more women were coming through.

By Ross Wigham

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