Police may be forced to undergo regular fitness tests as figures that show about 400 officers are unfit for frontline duty.
Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan raised the possibility yesterday.
He was responding to queries regarding the fitness of officers after a caller to talkback radio claimed she saw an obese policeman who had difficulty climbing out of a patrol car.
Mr O’Callaghan referred to a review of police employment across Britain by Tom Winsor, who recently became the first civilian Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
dailymail.co.uk reported that the review criticised the fact that officers’ fitness was not re-tested after they first signed-up to join the force and recommended regular fitness re-testing.
The review also recommended officers who repeatedly failed fitness tests should have their pay cut.
Mr O’Callaghan said that about 7 per cent of WA’s 5800 serving police officers were unfit for deployment, but that figure could rise to about 10 per cent by 2015.
“Unfit for deployment” is not a label solely related to an officer’s weight and can also include whether they are injured.
“Some of those are temporarily unfit - and you get that in an organisation either through work-related injury or non-work related injury - and some of those are permanently unfit,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
“But we don’t really have a very strong regime for testing that on a regular basis so that will be one of the things we will look at over the next few years.
“There is no doubt that police forces all over the world will use that (review) as a blueprint but I will say it is a long
process for us because it has industrial ramifications and will require a lot of debate.”
The WA Police Union would not comment on the issue.
Mr O’Callaghan has raised concerns over officers’ fitness previously. In 2006, he said up to 30 per cent of frontline police needed to address their fitness levels as he spoke about a fitness regime that involved exercise six times a week and a diet plan of six small meals a day.