What's involved in the medical and fitness tests?

The fitness test is designed to assess whether you’ve got the stamina needed to be a police officer, not an Olympic athlete.

It involves a multi-stage shuttle run, also known as the ‘bleep test’, which is a physical test of your aerobic capacity (stamina). It involves running between two points that are 15 metres apart (a "shuttle"). The pace of each shuttle is synchronised with a pre-recorded audio tape that bleeps at set intervals - and speeds up during the test.

See what serving officers Beth and Myles think of the fitness test. 

View the full video transcript

Female officer in gym talking to camera.

00:00: - 00:02 - The fitness test is probably one of the most important things in your role.

Female officer in gym puts on a bib.

00:03: - 00:06     It safeguards you, and it safeguards other people.

Male officer in gym also puts on a bib. Female officer in gym talking to camera.

00:07: - 00:10     If you’re not at a certain level of fitness how can you be expected to safeguard the public.

Female and male officer walk to each other in the gym and face the camera.

Male officer in changing room talking to camera.

00:16: - 00:18     Doing this role obviously requires a lot of physical activity.

Male officer in gym stretching. Fitness instructor talks to female officer.

00:19: - 00:24     Doing the Bleep test gives you that bit of boost of confidence to know that you have got a bit of basic fitness that you can rely on.

Female officer in gym talks to camera.

00:25: - 00:29     It’s 5.4 on the bleep test so it’s just a shuffle run between one point to another.

Female and male officer with fitness instructor. Officers doing bleep test.

00:30: - 00:35     You’re all together and you just want each other to pass and you kind of just try to set a pace to get you to the end of the line basically.

Officers running in the gym, female officer talks to camera.

00:37: - 00:40     So we do a refresher once a year as part of our standard annual fitness test.

Male officer talking in the changing room, male and female officer doing bleep test.

00:41: - 00:48     Knowing that I meet the standard every single year, certainly some confidence, when your dealing with people and your dealing with individuals, it’s nice to have that confidence behind you.

Female officer in gym talks to camera, male and female officer doing bleep test.

00:49: - 00:51     If you want to be a police officer you’ll do everything you can to get there.

00:52: - 00:59     I don’t think the bleep test is a precludement, in fact I think it’s actually a drive, because if you can prove you can do that what else are you capable of. 

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Some people worry about not being fit enough to pass the test but, as long as you’re reasonably fit and have prepared enough in advance, you should be fine.

Tips on the fitness test

The medical test varies by force but normally involves: 

  • Checking your height, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • A musculoskeletal assessment
  • Blood pressure check / urinalysis
  • Spirometry (Lung capacity test)
  • Hearing and eyesight checks

Most forces also require a completed health questionnaire signed by your GP, covering your current and past physical and mental health history.

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