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I put my hands up and admit I failed PSNI test!

By Deborah McAleese

Run around a few traffic cones, hop over a wall a few times and lift a couple of weights in 3.54 minutes?

Easy peasy. Or so I thought. The straightforward-looking obstacle course, set up in the gym at the PSNI training college in Garnerville, has both made careers and broken dreams.

Apparently a quarter of those who apply for a job with the PSNI as a constable, under a recent recruitment drive, failed this physical assessment, immediately disqualifying them from the recruitment process.

The course, which has to be completed three times within the required timescale, includes a stair climb, a run across a balance beam, a climb over a 6ft wall, lifting and carrying two 8kg weights and dragging a 39kg bag.

Once the course is completed, candidates have to display their strength and resistance for 20 seconds on an isokinetic machine which simulates pushing and pulling in a struggle with someone.

All of the obstacles simulate different aspects within the police job.

Overestimating my own personal fitness, I wanted to show that I had what it physically takes to be a PSNI officer.

I donned my trainers, flexed my muscles and took off like a bat out of hell, convinced I'd complete the course well within the 3.54 minutes.

Crawling effortlessly under the first obstacle and springing like a ballerina over a jump, I smugly thought I might even break a few PSNI records.

But about 30 seconds in, as I ran up and down the stairs, I started to feel my legs wobble.

Trying to haul myself over the 6ft wall, I kept repeating the mantra of my circuits' trainer Sarah: "If it isn't hurting it isn't working".

By the time I got to the second round I began to regret the previous night's glass of wine and slice of chocolate cake.

The course was proving to be much more aerobic than I had imagined and third round in I could barely catch a breath, my face was almost purple and my hair was stuck to my forehead with sweat.

As I forced my jelly-like legs towards the finish line with as much finesse as I could muster, Joanne, the PSNI trainer, held up her watch to show that at 4.18 minutes I had well and truly failed.

So I have to applaud the 75% of recruit hopefuls who recently passed their physical assessments.

I won't be outrunning any of them in the near future.

That said, I think Joanne's stopwatch was on the blink.

Police officers set to undergo 'rigorous' new fitness programme 

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