POLICE officers are clocking up miles on the beat as part of an Olympic-inspired fitness challenge.
Northumbria Police has entered the London 2012 spirit with its very own fitness campaign as part of the NHS Workforce Workfit Challenge.
Almost 400 staff at North Tyneside and Northumberland Area Commands are taking part in the Olympic Torch Challenge to complete the 8,000 miles the Olympic torch will travel.
This walking and running-based event is open to all staff working in both area commands who can take part either on their own, or as part of a team of five to help collectively complete the virtual Olympic torch route.
Together those taking part have just over four weeks to complete the challenge either at work or at home.
Last year North Tyneside Area Command won the chance to take part in the scheme after becoming one of just six businesses and organisations in the North East to receive funding for the Olympic-linked event.
Each member of staff taking part will measure the distance they are walking or running with their pedometers.
Mileage is recorded independently every Monday morning, and there will be an awards ceremony at the end of the competition with gold, silver and bronze trophies and medals for the individual and team winners.
Chief Inspector Mark Anastasi, who is taking part in the campaign, said: “This challenge has given those officers taking part the opportunity to record their activity while on duty and engaging with people in their local neighbourhoods and communities.”
Northumbria Police’s better health at work lead Sarah Dodds said: “We were delighted to receive the award from NHS North East which we used to buy pedometers to encourage staff to walk more and increase their personal fitness.
“It's important all staff are fit and healthy, both operational officers and police staff, so they can continue to deliver the high-quality policing service expected by the people of North Tyneside and Northumberland.
“We're also reminding staff of the health benefits in terms of lowered blood pressure, improved heart health and stamina in our weekly update e-mails.”
Elaine Wilson NHS North East Olympic ambassador said: “It’s great to have Northumbria Police on board for the Workforce Workfit Challenge.
“Obviously it’s important for frontline officers and support staff to be physically fit as we know that a fit workforce is usually a more effective one.”
The Workforce Workfit challenge was launched last year in partnership with The Journal’s Great North Fitness Revolution to promote Olympics-inspired fitness.
Since then, workplaces across the region joined in the challenge and got creative in thinking up ways to getting their staff fitter – from pedometer challenges to green exercise programmes and Bollywood dancing.
The Workforce Workfit scheme has already won approval from NHS chiefs and Olympic bosses.
For more information on creating a Workforce Workfit programme, email Elaine Wilson at Elaine.firstname.lastname@example.org