The gender-neutral timed obstacle course: A valid test of police fitness?

Jackson, Craig and Wilson, David (2013) The gender-neutral timed obstacle course: A valid test of police fitness? Occupational Medicine, 63 (7). pp. 479-484. ISSN 09627480 (ISSN)

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Background In the light of the Winsor review, UK police forces have been urged to use fitness tests as large-scale cost-effective measures of officers' fitness to work. One test is the Gender-Neutral Timed Obstacle Course (GeNTOC), which must be completed within 3 min 45 s, regardless of sex. Aims To investigate if obstacle courses, mimicking a range of police-type activities, can provide a suitable and valid basis for identifying fit and unfit officers and if any other factors may influence test performances. Methods Five years of GeNTOC records were randomly sampled, providing data for 1701 officers. Pass/fail rates were analysed alongside demographics and obstacle performance. Results Of 1701 candidates, 24% (397) failed GeNTOC (7 and 42% of males and females, respectively). Females failed in two specific obstacles significantly more often than males: the 'body drag' and 'gate weave'. Errors made on these obstacles alone accounted for 49% of obstacle errors made by females. GeNTOC success was significantly associated with candidates who were male, younger, taller, heavier and of lower body mass index (BMI). Of all candidates, 42% were overweight, and 8% were obese. Conclusions The GeNTOC was not a useful screening tool and worked independently of BMI groups. Too few candidates were appropriately screened out; too many of those failing were female; and too many who passed were overweight or obese. GeNTOC was unfair to female candidates and favoured overweight or obese males. Recommendations are made to adopt alternative fitness tests or to modify the GeNTOC obstacles, testing procedures and data collection. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Occupational Medicine.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
October 2013Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fitness standards, Fitness tests, Police officers, Selection, adult, age, article, body height, body mass, body weight, exercise test, female, fitness, Fitness standards, fitness tests, human, male, movement (physiology), obesity, police, police officers, reproducibility, selection., sex difference, standard, United Kingdom, validation study, work, young adult, Fitness standards, fitness tests, police officers, selection., Adult, Age Factors, Body Height, Body Mass Index, Body Weight, Exercise Test, Female, Great Britain, Humans, Male, Movement, Obesity, Overweight, Physical Fitness, Police, Reproducibility of Results, Sex Factors, Work, Young Adult
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-03 - social policy
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Hussen Farooq
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2017 14:14
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:56

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