Changes in Australian law enforcement recruits’ aerobic fitness, and the development of normative data following academy training

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Background: Measures of aerobic fitnessare an important component of law enforcement academy training to ensure arecruit’s physical capacity is sufficient to complete occupational demands. Lawenforcement officers can be required to conduct rapid foot pursuits and restrainsuspects, all while carrying additional loads (e.g., body armour and firearms). Thus, these officers require a sufficientlevel of fitness. Due to the importance of physical fitness incarrying out occupational tasks and reducing injury risk, this study aimed toquantify changes in aerobic fitness during law enforcement academy training andto establish normative aerobic fitness values which can evaluate recruitfitness across jurisdictions. Methods: Retrospectivedata from five law enforcementrecruit cohorts (male n = 741, 25.2 ± 6.3 years; female: n = 353,25.6 ± 5.6 years) who underwent 18 weeks of academy training were analyzed. Initial20MSFT and 2.4km run assessments were completed during week four of training,with the final test completed during week 17. A mixed factor repeated-measures ANOVAwas used to determine the differences between 20MSFT shuttle performance and2.4km run time from testing session one to session two. Results: Main effects for testingperiod showed improvements in 20MSFT and 2.4km runperformance (p<0.001, h2= 0.003-0.006) between testing periods. Post-hoc analysis demonstrated amean difference of –9.27 (CI –14.8 ––10.9; d = 0.47; p < 0.001) shuttles completed in20MSFT performance and a mean difference of 20.1 (CI 16.0 – 24.2; d = 0.49; p <0.001) sec in 2.4km run time improvement. Normative 20MSFT and 2.4kmrun times were split by sex and age, with an overall total mean shuttlescompleted for 20MSFT of 76.4 ± 17.9 for males and 51.2 ± 11.2 for females; withmales and females reporting 658.3 ± 71.0 sec and 746.8 ± 72.6 sec, respectivelyfor the 2.4km run. Discussion: The findings indicate currentacademy training results in improvements in aerobic fitness. Interestingly,results suggested the magnitude of improvement in performance made by recruitsin the 20MSFT may be greater than the 2.4km run. This may have futureconsiderations for test selection when law enforcement agencies makedistinctions in which test is implemented to evaluate aerobic fitness. Establishmentof normative values for graduating law enforcement recruits provides animportant reference and a comparative point for agencies to evaluate aerobicfitness against standardised benchmarks. Conflict ofinterest statement: My co-authorsand I acknowledge that we have no conflict of interest of relevance to thesubmission of this abstract.
Period23 Oct 2021
Event title2021 SMA e-Conference
Event typeConference