Young female recruits to the gardaí are the most likely to fail fitness and physical capacity tests that are in place for entry to the force.
A detailed breakdown of success rates according to age and gender has been released for the first time by An Garda Síochána following a freedom of information request.
It shows wide variations in success rates with msore than 60% of women under the age of 21 having failed their fitness test last year, compared with a failure rate of just 11.3% among men between the ages of 31 and 35.
The stringency of the system of testing has been a source of concern for the Garda Representative Association (GRA) which last year sought a review saying the system was “excessively harsh”.
Those concerns have, however, been disputed by Garda Headquarters according to correspondence, which was also obtained under FoI.
In a letter to the GRA, the force’s chief administrative officer Joseph Nugent said they were “somewhat surprised” about questions over the necessity of passing the fitness test.
Mr Nugent wrote: “Notwithstanding that it is correct to say that some members have failed the test, the vast majority of probationers do pass the test. The standard required is well known and has not changed and all those entering the organisation are made aware of their requirement to achieve the necessary fitness level.”
New recruits to the gardaí currently have to pass two separate tests — a fitness test and then a physical competency test.
The fitness test involves a progressive shuttle run, a sit-up test, and a press-up test with targets slightly tailored according to age and gender.
Candidates must also do a physical competence test, which involves an obstacle-style course of sprinting, climbing, carrying, jumping, and lifting.
Last year, failure rates in the fitness test were higher than in the physical competence test, according to the official figures.
The fail rate in the fitness test among women under 21 was 61.9%, under 26 was 43.6%, under 31 was 24.8%, and under 36 was 31.9%.
The fail rate for men under 21 was 24.7%, under 26 was 19.1%, under 31 was 18.4%, and under 36 was 11.3%. Three candidates aged over 35 also took the test, of whom just one failed.
For the physical competence test, males had a high rate of success with that rate again improving according to the age of the candidate.
The Garda Press Office was contacted for comment on February 11 but has not yet responded.