Fitness Standards

In September 2013, the College issued interim guidance on how police forces in England and Wales should carry out officer fitness tests.

The tests measure endurance, and are based on scientific research to match the physical demands of officer safety training. The standard is the same as that used when recruiting officers.

The test involves a 15m shuttle run, to be completed to an endurance level of 5:4, and is compliant with equality legislation. There is no obstacle course or upper strength testing as part of this annual fitness test.

Longer-term recommendations will be made based on the test results from forces, to ensure that the test does not unlawfully discriminate against officers because of their disability, gender or age.

The Home Secretary accepted the recommendation of the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales (PABEW) that, in the first year (until September 2014), there should be no sanction applied to officers who fail the fitness test or who cannot take it for a medical reason. The College will consider what actions could be necessary in the future if an officer continually fails the test.

Each force's chief constable will decide how that force implements the interim guidance.

Fitness tests for specialist posts

On 18 January 2012, the Chief Constables' Council agreed to support new job-related fitness tests (JRFTs) for specialist posts. These include fitness standards for 13 specialist posts including firearms officers, dog handlers and police cyclists. The levels range from 5:4 (four shuttles at level five) to 10:5 on the Multi-Stage Fitness Test (MSFT), known as a "bleep" test - this is a timed test where individuals run at an increasing speed.

Unit Recommended standard
(Level : Shuttle)
Dynamic strength
Push / Pull
Marine Police Unit 5 : 4 34kg / 35kg
Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear 5 : 4 34kg / 35kg
Method of Entry 5 : 4 34kg / 35kg
Dog Handler 5 : 7 34kg / 35kg
Mounted Branch 5 : 7 34kg / 35kg
Police Cyclist 5 : 8 34kg / 35kg
Police Support Unit 6 : 3 34kg / 35kg
Air Support 6 : 4 34kg / 35kg
Police Divers 6 : 8 34kg / 35kg
Marine Police (Tactical Skills) 7 : 2 34kg / 35kg
Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) 7 : 6 34kg / 35kg
Armed Response Vehicle 9 : 4 34kg / 35kg
Dynamic Intervention AFO 10 : 5 34kg / 35kg

The tests were developed by the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales Fitness Working Group, which included representation from the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Superintendents' Association, the Police Federation of England and Wales, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, the National Policing Improvement Agency and specialist fitness advisors.

On the right side of this page, you can download:

  • the final report provided to the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales, which includes the Lilleshall Consultancy Report January 2009, the Lilleshall Consultancy Report October 2009 and the Equality Impact Assessment January 2010
  • the guidance for implementing the fitness standards, which includes information on health and safety, equality and diversity and costings.

The recommendations were based on physiological data from officers undertaking training exercises that closely replicated the 'real-life' physical demands of the specialist role and were based on operational scenarios. Data gathered during the training exercises were then compared to data gathered during the multi-stage fitness test (MSFT) that the same officers had earlier undertaken. This ensured, as far as possible, that an officer who passed the MSFT had the operational fitness demanded of the relevant specialist activity.

For more information, please contact Rose Bartlett.

Background

In 2003, the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales commissioned a working group to advise on the development of national JRFTs for recruits to the police service, specialist posts and police officers already in service. The working group recommended a JRFT standard for recruits which was adopted by the police service in 2004. The related Home Office Circular, 43/2004, can be found here.

In 2007, the working group was reformed to develop national JRFTs for specialist posts.