Fitness a growing factor affecting Garda recruitment efforts - O'Callaghan

Published on: 17 January 2023

Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Bay South and spokesperson on Justice, Jim O'Callaghan, recently asked the Minister for Justice to provide clarity on the number of persons that applied to the Garda recruitment campaign last year but who failed the fitness test.
A new Garda recruitment campaign will be launched early this year to ensure a steady flow of recruits into the Garda College over the course of the year and to respond to the recruitment challenge within the Gardaí.
Deputy O'Callaghan said, "The Government has allocated an unprecedented budget of €2.14 billion to An Garda Síochána this year. This level of funding enables sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff.
"However, the rate of fitness test failures is affecting the drive to boost falling Garda numbers and I am advised by the Minister for Justice, Simon Harris, that as of early December, 55 candidates out of 315 had failed their Physical Competency Test (PCT). ''
The PCT for An Garda Síochána is composed of
1) A shuttle run (bleep test).
2) Push-ups.
2-hour break
3) Obstacle course.
4) Push – pull machine.
The Fianna Fáil Justice spokesperson said, "It is my understanding that pass requirements for the shuttle run, and push-ups differ between sexes and age brackets. The obstacle course must be completed 3 times, in under 3 minutes and 20 seconds and if you fail any component, you must repeat 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.
"The PSNI physical assessment for example is similar to the An Garda Síochána assessment but allows 4 minutes 30 seconds for the obstacle course. Canadian Cadets undertake a Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation which again is similar to our assessment but doesn't have the bleep test component and allows 5 minutes 30 seconds for obstacle course and push and pull.
"I believe that the time limits we are placing on trainees to complete the PCT is contributing to the failure of meeting recruitment targets, and this should be reviewed as a matter of urgency.
"Fianna Fáil in Government will continue to ensure that An Garda Síochána have the resources needed to keep our communities safe, as demonstrated by the unprecedented allocation provided in Budget 2023 of €2.14 billion.  This level of funding must support the planned recruitment of up to 1,000 new Gardaí and 400 new Garda staff which will support high visibility policing and the redeployment of Gardaí to frontline duties where their policing expertise and experience can be used to best effect. ''