POLICE Scotland has been forced to reject almost half of applicants – because they were not fit enough.
The force said 46% of candidates failed the relatively undemanding initial fitness test.
Male applicants aged up to 29 must run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes and women in 14 minutes.
Men up to the age of 45 have to be able to run the 1.5 miles in in 13 minutes and women in 16 minutes.
In the first year of the national force a total of 606 applicants were knocked back after they failed to meet the national standard.
A subsequent probationary period followed in which three recruits failed further fitness tests and resigned prior to dismissal.
Rose Bartlett, recruitment standards policy manager at the College of Policing, said the results showed that “the vast majority” of officers actually taken on are fit.
The issue of police fitness has prompted some to call for mandatory fitness tests for serving officers similar to those carried out south of the border and which came into effect on September 1.
Dundee-born Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor suggested that police officers should have to take “bleep” shuttle run tests annually.
Scottish Labour justice spokesman Graeme Pearson MSP said: “If fire services personnel in Scotland have to undergo fitness tests to stay in their jobs, why is it any different for police officers? That is something I would like to know.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “At this time there is no mandatory fitness testing for Police Scotland officers outwith their probationary period.
“However, as per the Police Scotland regulations, it is the personal responsibility of each individual officer to maintain a fitness level which allows them to carry out the functions of an operational role.
“There are specialisms such as firearms officers and public order officers who have to complete specific fitness assessments as part of the role requirement and they will be tested again at regular intervals whilst carrying out re-qualification training.”