The eligibility tests for those wishing to join the Gardaí are too demanding and stall a recruitment drive, said a Fianna Fáil TD.
Figures released by Justice Secretary Simon Harris to Jim O’Callaghan show that a sixth of Garda applicants have failed the test in the last year.
“I am advised by the Minister for Justice that as of early December, 55 candidates out of 315 had failed their Physical Competency Test (PCT),” he said, reports RTE.
The PCT includes a shuttle run, push-ups, an obstacle course, and a push-pull machine.
Mr O’Callaghan said the obstacle course must be completed three times in under three minutes and 20 seconds, and if you fail one component you’ll have to retake the whole test.
“I am concerned that the fitness test is too demanding, out of step with other jurisdictions and is becoming a growing factor blocking recruitment,” he said, reports RTE.
Speaking to RTÉ News, Mr O’Callaghan said he was contacted daily by constituents concerned about crime and that one solution was to recruit more Gardaí.
He said the fitness test should be reviewed as part of Garda’s recruiting priority.
When asked if it was appropriate to have gardaí on the road who didn’t meet certain test requirements, he said the assessment was “quite demanding.”
However, a professor of clinical exercise physiology at Dublin City University said it would be “wrong” to reduce the requirements.
Speaking to RTÉ News, Prof Niall Moyna said Gardaí must be ready to apply at any time as it is “an extremely physically demanding job”, reports RTE.
“We certainly can’t short change standards. It’s very important we maintain standards. I don’t think this is an issue for An Garda Síochána, they realise it is a very demanding job and there is a minimum fitness level required,” he said, reports RTE.
Brendan O’Connor, president of the Garda Representative Association, told RTÉ’s Drivetime program yesterday that the tests were “appropriate” and had been developed by experts as a “bespoke test” for Gardaí.
“It is quite demanding but it is appropriate to the skillset required to perform the role in An Garda Síochána,” he said, reports RTE.
Mr O’Connor said the GRA promotes the well-being and fitness of all its members.
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