A major UK police force requires all new recruits to pass a ‘Job Related Fitness Test’ (JRFT), to ensure they are able to meet the taxing physical demands of the role. Armed officers must undergo yearly re-assessment. The College of Policing provides guidance to the police forces of England and Wales in the assessment test. Individual forces may augment these guidelines for their own fitness assessment. Generally, there is the inclusion of a ‘Multi-stage Fitness Test’ (MSFT) or “bleep test” to assess endurance fitness.
Additionally, in this case, there is a dynamic strength test to ensure officers have sufficient muscular power to restrain suspects and handle the broad range of heavy equipment, including:
- door opening gear and
- defensive clothing.
The ‘dynamic strength test’ requires officers to perform five seated chest presses and five seated chest pulls on a ‘Dyno’ machine, with the pass levels being reassessed every 5 years.
Previous pass/fail criteria were based on normative tables of average strength results from men and women of set age groups. However recently a more practical and scientifically sophisticated methodology has been implemented. The new methodology better reflects the real-life forces which on-duty officers are likely to encounter and requires force readings to be taken ‘in the field’. Expensive, delicate and complex laboratory manual force measurement equipment previously employed, such as a force glove, had not proved suitable for field-based data collection, so it was decided that a robust, inexpensive, self-contained device was required.
Mecmesin supplied a Manual Handling Evaluation Kit (MHE), comprising an AFG 2500N digital force gauge mounted onto a double-handled grip, and a variety of ancillary fixtures including hooks, rubber-faced compression plates and a 2 m chain to allow force measurements to be taken in a variety of awkward orientations.
The sturdy aluminium case and splash proof controls have proved ideal for the rigorous conditions of field-based testing. This versatile kit has also been applied to a number of different applications, an example of which is the assessment of the differing forces exerted by a stab-proof vest on an armed officer standing still, walking, jogging and sprinting.
MHE Manual Handling Kit 2500 N