Profiling the injuries sustained by police trainees undergoing initial training: A retrospective cohort study

Sally Sawyer, Ben Schram, Rodney Pope, Robin Orr

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The tasks performed by police officers are unique, varied and can be performed in unex-pected situations. Initial police college training is used to prepare new police officers to conduct these tasks and is known to be a time when police trainees are at an elevated risk of injury. The aim of this study was to profile injuries occurring within a national Police Force during initial training to inform injury prevention strategies. Using a retrospective cohort design, point-of-care injury data including injury body site, nature, mechanism, and the activity being performed at the time of injury were provided. A total of 564 injuries were recorded over the 22-month period, with the mean age of recruits reporting an injury being 28.83 years ± 6.9 years. The incidence of injuries ranged across training periods, from 456.25 to 3079 injuries per 1000 person-years with an overall incidence rate of 1550.15 injuries per 1000 person-years. The shoulder was the most injured site (n = 113, 20% of injuries), with sprains and strains being the most common nature of injury (n = 287, 50.9% of injuries). Muscular stress with physical exercise was the most common mechanism of injury (n = 175, 31.0% of injuries) with the activity responsible for the largest proportion of injuries being “unknown” (n = 256, 45.4% of injuries), followed by police training (n = 215, 38.1%). Injuries appear to be typically joint related—commonly the shoulder—with police training being a primary known activity at the time of injury. Prescreening protocols may be of benefit, and efforts should be made to recruit and train physically resilient train-ees. Injuries, whether they occurred pre-enlistment or during training, should be fully rehabilitated prior to the individual’s commencement as a qualified officer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7335
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jul 2021


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