A police service’s recruitment policy has been given a boost thanks to an engineering consultancy and its computer modelling capabilities.
Systems engineering firm Frazer-Nash Consultancy was tasked by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to assist in the development of standards for testing physical strength, in order to improve the service’s standards of care for its officers.
As part of specialist officer recruitment tests, the PSNI makes use of a force measuring machine to assess the strength of prospective candidates in performing job-related physical tasks – a key requirement for Close Protection officers in particular.
The PSNI needed to understand precisely what force a Close Protection officer might be expected to apply in the role, and required the force test to be set at a level which reflects what is likely to happen in the ‘real world’.
Frazer-Nash made use of its bespoke DYNAMAN human modelling software tool to represent the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ police officers need to apply. The approach was to conduct a series of detailed dynamic analyses, spanning the range of scenarios in which an officer is expected to exert pushing or pulling forces.
From these tests, a maximum expected force level was calculated – which in turn could be programmed into the PSNI’s force testing machine as a test standard.
John Henderson, Director of Physical and Health Education at the Police Service of Northern Ireland, commented: ‘Physical strength is a key attribute in the recruitment and training of Close Protection officers. However, the means by which prospective staff are tested – and ensuring that this happens in as safe and fair a way to all applicants as possible – is equally important.
‘Making use of Frazer-Nash’s modelling capabilities has allowed us to further refine our recruitment process and guarantees that we meet our duty of care to prospective employees.’
Mark Dorn, Business Manager for Frazer-Nash, said: ‘We have used our DYNAMAN software in applications as diverse as escalator safety and explosion modelling. However, this is the first time that we have used the system in a way that can help refine the recruitment strategy of an organisation.