Despite all the technical progress, physical activities are and will continue to be part of the police profession. It is therefore the people’s right to demand a certain level of physical fitness from their public servants in uniform. Consequently, regular exercise and a healthy diet should be a natural part of the lives of police officers in Germany. Personal responsibility for a healthy and active life can accordingly be expected from members of the German police. Despite this statement, however, it would be highly unfair to attribute the responsibility for adequate fitness entirely to the police officers.
Just as it is the responsibility of the officers of the German police forces to take care of their fitness themselves, the employer must enable his employees to lead a life appropriate to their profession. It is a central task to offer further training in a healthy lifestyle and, above all, appropriate official sports.
The German Police Sports Board is concerned with the importance of physical fitness for members of the police forces and the responsibilities to ensure it. In a policy paper, the members of the Board of Trustees disclose their position. That physical fitness and police work are inextricably linked is not in doubt among the members of the Board of Trustees. “As in only a few professions, physical fitness is of outstanding importance in the police service,” the Board of Trustees states. In order to fulfil the requirements of the police service, an adequate level of physical fitness is needed.
This necessity manifests itself on two levels. On the one hand, there is a certain obligation towards the population to convey the impression and competence as public servants that they are physically capable of fighting crime. The citizens would have a justified claim to performance from the police. Officers must also be physically able to meet this demand. On the other hand, the athleticism of the employees also has intrinsic strategic relevance. The opportunity to engage in interest-oriented sport creates identification with the employer and provides motivation.
Although the position paper emphasises the principle of personal responsibility, it also formulates clear demands on the employer. “Superiors set the course for fitness in the police by fulfilling their leadership responsibility in this area. Their role model function is therefore of particular importance,” the board of trustees states. It has been scientifically proven that through targeted and regular training, an age- and gender-specific level of performance can be achieved or maintained that meets the high demands of the police profession.
In addition to sporting activities, which primarily serve the successful completion of everyday work, the Board of Trustees is also dedicated to competitive sport. This is because top athletes are usually at an age when the question of their professional future also arises. “Without the promotion of top-class sport, top performances that stand up to international comparison are hardly achievable,” the basic paper states. A career in the police makes it possible to devote oneself fully to sport without having to accept limitations in the professional perspective in the coming stages of life.
Police sport is also a topic of the European Police Congress of the Behörden Spiegel. Further information: www.european-police.eu