Job-related fitness standards

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Background, implementation and details on preparing for the job-related fitness test (JRFT) and links to additional guidance.

First published
Written by College of Policing

How and why fitness is tested

The JRFT is a key component of the recruitment and deployment of police officers. The JRFT is an aerobic test  based on the physiological demands of personal safety training (PST). 

There is no obstacle course or upper strength testing as part of this test.

The upper body strength test (known as the push/pull test) was withdrawn from the JRFT in 2016.

Background to the JRFT

Fitness tests for  police officer roles

Completion of the JRFT is a requirement for successful recruitment to the role of a police officer. The core rationale for the JRFT is to ensure that prospective police officers have a minimum level of fitness to be able to undertake PST training. The standard identified for recruits was extended to serving officers in 2014 following the endorsement of the Winsor Review (Part II) recommendations. This annual test is only applicable for those officers who require PST as part of their role.

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. 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. This ensured, as far as possible, that an officer who passed the relevant JRFT had the operational fitness demanded to safely complete training for these roles.

The College of Policing’s implementation guidance is informed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) fitness testing working group and recommendation 33 of the Winsor Review (Part II).

The 15m Multi-Stage Fitness test (15m MSFT)

The 15m MSFT involves running up and down (a shuttle run) a 15-metre track. It is timed against a series of audio beeps and the participant must 'beat the bleep' and complete the shuttle before they hear the sound.

At the end of each level, the time between beeps gets shorter, meaning the participant has to run faster.  

The standard needed for an officer who requires PST as part of their role is 5.4 which means running at least in time with the bleeps for four shuttles at level 5. The whole test takes 3 minutes and 35 seconds and covers 525m.

Levels, shuttles and how long they should take

Level

Number of shuttles required

Time per shuttle (seconds)

1

7

6.9

2

8

6.4

3

8

6.1

4

8

5.6

5

4

5.5 (required standard)

The recommended standard required for specialist roles

Some operational policing roles require a higher level of fitness. These are 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.

Standards needed for specialist roles

Role

​Recommended standard (level: shuttle)

​Marine police unit​

​5:4

​Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear

​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

Practising for the MSFT

You can test your own fitness levels using a recording of the bleep test. This will help determine your readiness to take the test and as a baseline for maintaining and improving your fitness.

The timing between bleeps is slow at first (about 7 seconds apart) but they become faster as the test progresses and it becomes harder to keep up. One 15m run is one shuttle. 

This an audio recording mp3 file of the bleeps for the test. 

Audio file

Using the audio recording

Follow these steps:

  1. Find a 15-metre track in a sports hall or running track
  2. Access the audio recording of the bleep test on the device you have with you
  3. Run up and down the 15m while listening
  4. If you arrive at the end line before the bleep sounds, you wait for the bleep 
  5. Resume running, adjusting your speed to keep up
  6. Count the number of shuttles you do when you get to level 5 – you need to do at least four of them

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 test to train – it should only be used periodically to assess progress.

Training for the test

Training tips to get yourself ready for the test include:

  • train as much as possible with friends to make an exercise programme more enjoyable and safer 
  • monitor your progress by recording times taken, distances covered and recovery times – feedback on improvements is motivating
  • set yourself realistic targets targets 
  • do not overdo your training, but start gently and build up gradually over a period of weeks or months
  • spread fitness sessions out rather than doing many activities in one day and then doing nothing else for the rest of the week

Alternative fitness tests

The Chester treadmill police walking and run test (CTPWT and CTPRT)

An alternative test was introduced in 2016 – the Chester treadmill police walking and run test. Both the CPTWT and CTPRT are treadmill tests designed for officers with lower limb injuries which prevent them from completing the 15m MSFT because of the turning at the end of each shuttle. It is for individual forces to decide when to offer the alternative test to officers. 

This test takes place on a treadmill. After a suitable warm-up the subject is required to walk at a brisk pace (6km/hr) on the treadmill. Every 2 minutes the gradient is raised by 3% for a specific amount of time. The length of time an individual must continue depends on the kind of policing role. 

Standards needed for the treadmill tests

Role

Time (minutes and seconds)

Police officer

10

​Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear police

10

Dog handler

10 and 20 secs

Mounted branch

10 and 20 secs

Police cyclist

10 and 20 secs

Police support unit

10 and 40 secs

Air support unit

10 and 40 secs

Police drivers

11 and 20 secs

Marine police

11 and 40 secs

Authorised firearms officer

12

The CTPRT treadmill protocol is the same test but conducted at a greater speed to reflect the higher aerobic demand.

​Level

​Time (mins)

​Treadmill gradient

​1

​0 to 2

​0%

​2

​2 to 4

​2%

​3

​4 to 6

​4%

​4

​6 to 8

​5%

​5

​8 to 10

​8%

CTPRT target times for specialist posts, estimated aerobic capacity and recommended shuttle-run level.

​Specialist post

​CTPRT

Target time (min:sec) 

​Recommended standard

(Level: shuttle) 

​ARV

​8:00

​9:4

​DIAFO

​10:00

​10:00

Implementation guidance

The College has created implementation guidance to support forces to deliver the JRFT consistently and to assist forces to ensure that they meet their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

As well as general guidance they include detail on:

  • health and safety
  • fitness testing and equality and diversity
  • Support and familiarisation
  • an occupational health declaration template