Multi Stage Fitness Test practice for specialist roles

To ensure you are fit enough to be to carry out some specialist roles, you will undertake a fitness test. There are two elements to the test, and you must pass both before you can be appointed.

We are looking for the right standard to demonstrate that you will be able to work effectively in the specialist role.

If you don't pass the test at your first attempt, you will be allowed to retake it. However, if you fail the test after three attempts your application will be halted and you will not be eligible to re-apply for six months.

Once you are appointed, you will need to maintain your fitness and you will be retested annually.

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.

You need to find a 15-metre track - this could be at a local sports hall, or you could speak to your force's physical training instructor about using the force's tracks.

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 (they start at 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. See the chart below for the relevant standard for your specialism.

UnitRecommended standard
(Level : Shuttle)
​Marine Police Unit​5 : 4
Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear5 : 4
Method of Entry5 : 4
Dog Handler 5 : 7
Mounted Branch 5 : 7
Police Cyclist5 : 8
Police Support Unit 6 : 3
Air Support6 : 4
Police Divers 6 : 8
Marine Police (Tactical Skills) 7 : 2
Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO)7 : 6
Armed Response Vehicle 9 : 4
Dynamic Intervention AFO10 : 5

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


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.


The College of Policing uses cookies to collect and analyse information about the users of this website. We use this information to enhance the content and other services available on the site. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing for us to set a small number of cookies. You can manage your preferences for Cookies at any time, for more information please see our Cookies Policy.