Selecting the Best of the Best: Associations between Anthropometric and Fitness Assessment Results and Success in Police Specialist Selection

International Journal of Exercise Science 11(4): 785-796, 2018. To successfully complete specialist police selection, officers must be physically fit. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between performance on selected anthropometric and fitness tests and successful selection into a specialist police unit. Thirty-two male police officers (mean age = 29.48±4.99 years) participated in a Barrier Fitness Assessment (BFA), followed by a Specialist Selection Course (SSC). The BFA spanned two consecutive days of testing (pull-ups, push-ups, seven-stage sit-ups, a timed loaded pack march, a Multi-Stage Fitness Test, an agility run, a lift and carry task and a 300m swim assessment). The SSC occurred 4 weeks later and consisted of 8 days of intense police training. Officers who successfully completed the SSC were graded based on their performance and this determined their ultimate selection. Data were categorized into four participant groups: Group 1 - Did not complete the BFA; Group 2 - Completed the BFA but not the SSC; Group 3 - Completed the SSC and were not selected; and Group 4 - Completed the SSC and were selected. A Spearman’s rank order correlation analysis was conducted to assess the strengths of the relationships between selection stage achieved and scores on each of the predictor variables, with significance set at 0.05. Height (p=0.011), body weight (p=0.011), pull-ups (p=0.021) and push-ups (p=0.016), seven-stage sit-up scores (p=0.042) and lift and carry speed (p=0.010) were significantly and positively correlated with level of selection success. Results suggest that candidates wishing to attempt selection into specialist police units would benefit from being tall and training to optimize musculoskeletal strength and muscular endurance.