OFFICERS at a North-East police force are among the fittest in the country, according to official figures released today (Tuesday, May 27).

Interim results submitted by 39 forces to the College of Policing showed that across the country, hundreds of police officers failed new fitness tests which are due to become mandatory later this year.

But Northumbria Police was one of only two forces out of a total of 43 in England and Wales who boasted a 100 per cent pass rate for both male and female officers. The other was Humberside.

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Nationally, 851 officers fell short, with three per cent failing overall in more than 30,000 tests.

After taking part in the 15-metre "bleep" shuttle run test, some 253 of the 22,078 male officers who took part (an average of one per cent) and 598 of 7,969 female officers (an average of eight per cent) were unsuccessful.

The new fitness testing, which will become compulsory in September, was brought in after recommendations made by Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor.

The worst failure rates were seen in Suffolk (seven per cent).

The Winsor recommendations stated that all officers should be made to take a "bleep" test annually, with participants having to complete a 15-metre shuttle run in shorter and shorter periods.

Mr Winsor also recommended that from 2018 the tests should be made harder, using challenges based on the type of things an officer might face on duty, but this is being considered by the College of Policing in case it negatively impacts on women.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Price said: "The results to date are encouraging and show the vast majority of officers tested are fit.

"Police forces are sending their results to the College on a quarterly basis and an equality impact assessment is being carried out on those results."