418. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the basis upon which the different pass levels in the fitness bleep test for Garda on probation have been set; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54233/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for An Garda Síochána including the training of the members and staff and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that all Gardaí recruited since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014 undertake the new 2 year training programme which leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Policing and is accredited by the University of Limerick. The programme is the outcome of a comprehensive review of foundation training for entrants to An Garda Síochána and exemplifies best practice.
As part of the Professional Competence Module of the BA in Applied Policing, probationer Gardaí must pass a fitness assessment. This assessment, which has been in place since the inception of the BA in Applied Policing in 2014, was devised by the Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science at Waterford Institute of Technology. It is a fair and attainable assessment and ensures probationer Gardaí have the physical capacity to perform the full range of physical duties for which they are responsible , such as pursuing fleeing suspects and controlling persons who resist arrest.
I understand that the assessment requires probationer Gardaí to complete a shuttle test, otherwise known as the "fitness bleep test" which measures cardio fitness and involves continuous running between two lines 20 metres apart in time to recorded beeps which decrease every minute. The probationer Gardaí also complete tests to measure muscular endurance involving the performance of a number of press ups and sit ups subject to a time limit. The level of fitness required to pass each test is adjusted to take account of age and gender.