Fitness standards

​​In August 2014, the College issued guidance on how police forces in England and Wales should carry out officer fitness tests.

​The test, based on scientific​ evidence, is designed to match the aerobic demands of personal safety training. The standard is the same as that used when recruiting officers.

​​The test involves a 15-metre shuttle run, to be completed to an endurance level of 5:4. There is no obstacle course or upper strength testing as part of this annual fitness test.

​The guidance, which is based on Recommendation 33 of the Winsor Review (Part II), emphasises the need for forces to provide support and advice to officers in order to pass.

​​If an officer is not able to pass the fitness test at the first attempt, the College advises forces to provide support and allow a series of at least two retakes. If all appropriate support measures and alternatives have been delivered and the officer is still unable to achieve the required standard, the College advises forces to use the unsatisfactory performance procedures as set out in the Police (Performance) Regulations 2012 procedure.

​​​​​​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 specia​list 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)
​Marine Police Unit​​5:4
​Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear​5:4
​Method of Entry​5:4
​Dog Handler​5:7
​Mounted Branch​5:7
​Police Cyclist​5:8
​Police Support Unit​6:3
​Air Support​6:4
​Police Divers​6:8
​Marine Police (Tactical Skills)​7:2
​Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO)​7:6
​Armed Response Vehicle​9:4
​Dynamic Intervention AFO​10:5

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 Natio​nal 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 c​​ontact Matt Johnston.

How to use the Multi Stage Fitness Test recording

 The recording at the below links will help you to gauge your endurance fitness level, which you can use to determine your readiness to take the test and as a baseline for maintaining and improving your fitness.

(Brief introduction to the bleep test)

(The bleep test)

You need to find a 15 metre track - this could be at a local sports hall or running track. 

While listening to the Multi Stage Fitness Test recording you should run to and fro along the 15 metre track in time with the bleeps. If you arrive at the end line before the bleep sounds you need to wait for the bleep before resuming running and you should adjust your speed accordingly. The timing between bleeps is slow at first (the bleeps are about seven seconds apart) but they become faster as the test progresses and it will become more difficult to keep up with the required speed. 

You should run to your optimum level without reaching exhaustion. You will need to reach a minimum of four shuttles at level 5 to pass the recruitment test.

You should not use the Multi Stage Fitness Test to train - it should only be used periodically to assess progress.

Alternative Test

On the 2 November 2016, the College of Policing Professional Committee formally endorsed two validated treadmill tests as the best available alternative fitness tests to the 15-metre Multistage Fitness Test (15m MSFT), as applied for the job related fitness test (JRFT) and specialist roles.

The Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test (CTPWT) and Chester Police Run Test (CTPRT) were designed by Professor Kevin Sykes, Emeritus Professor of Occupational Health and Workplace Fitness, University of Chester.

Note: The alternative test has been developed in order to facilitate a testing mechanism for individuals who are unable to complete the 15m MSFT due to disability or medical conditions. It remains a local force decision when to offer the alternative test to officers.

The Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test Police (CTPWT)

CTPWT is a performance test specifically developed for the Police Service of England and Wales as an alternative fitness test to the 15m Shuttle run, to determine whether an officer is able to achieve the minimum recommended aerobic fitness standard for PST and Specialist Posts, excluding ARV and DIAFO (College of Policing 2014). After a suitable warm-up the subject is required to walk at a brisk pace (6.0km/hr) on the treadmill. Every 2 minutes the gradient is raised by 3%.

CTPWT Treadmill Protocol


​LevelTime (mins)Treadmill gradient
​1​0 - 2​0%
​2​2 - 4​3%
​3​4 - 6​6%
​4​6 - 8​9%
​5​8 - 10​12%
​6​10 - 12​15%


CTPWT Target Time for Personal Safety Training (PST)


Personal Safety TrainingCTPWT Target Time (min:sec)
JRFT 15m Shuttle Run to Level 5:4​10:00

CTPWT Target Times for Specialist Posts, Estimated Aerobic Capacity and Recommended Shuttle Run Level


Specialist PostCTPWT

Target Time (min:sec)
Recommended Standard

(Level : Shuttle)
Marine Police Unit10:00​5:4
Method of Entry​10:20​5:4
​Dog Handler​10:20​5:7
​Mounted Branch​10:20​5:7
​Police Cyclist​10:20​5:8
Police Support Unit​10:40​6:3
​Air Support​10:40​6:4
​Police Divers​11:20​6:8
​Marine Police (Tactical skills)​11:40​7:2
Authorised Firearms Officer​12:00​7:6


The Chester Treadmill Police Run Test (CTPRT)

CTPRT is a performance test specifically developed for the Police Service of England and Wales as an alternative test to the 15m Shuttle run. After a suitable warm-up the officer is required to run at a brisk pace (10.4km/hr) on the treadmill. Every 2 minutes the gradient is raised by a designated amount. On satisfactory completion of 8 minutes the officer will have achieved the minimum recommended fitness standard for ARV. DIAFO are required to complete the full 10-minute test.

CTPRT Treadmill Protocol


​LevelTime (mins)Treadmill gradient
​1​0 - 2​0%
​2​2 - 4​2%
​3​4 - 6​4%
​4​6 - 8​5%
​5​8 - 10​8%


CTPRT Target Times for Specialist Posts, Estimated Aerobic Capacity and Recommended Shuttle Run Level


Specialist PostCTPRT

Target Time (min:sec)
Recommended Standard

(Level : Shuttle)


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. Download the related Home Office Circular, 43/2004.

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


Here are some tips to help you train for your fitness test.

  • Try to train as much as possible with friends as this will make your exercise programme a more enjoyable and safer activity.
  • Try to monitor your progress by recording times taken, distances covered and recovery times. This will give you feedback on improvements and will give you an incentive to continue training.
  • Set yourself targets that can be realistically achieved. This will help motivate you.
  • Do not overdo your training. Start gently and build up gradually over a period of weeks or months.
  • Try to spread fitness sessions out rather than playing squash, weight training and swimming all in one day and then doing nothing else for the rest of the week.

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