You’re an established officer looking to level up your policing career and are ready to take the next steps in becoming an Armed Police Officer. So, what exactly does that entail and how can you prepare for the next steps?
In previous articles, we’ve discussed what it takes to pass your police officer fitness test. Today, we explore the fitness requirements for becoming an Armed Police Officer (AFO), including:
- Authorised Firearms Officer
- Armed Response Vehicles
- Specialist Firearms Officer
- Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officer
Just like a standard police officer fitness test, it will be no surprise to you that there is a requirement to continue to train and further enhance your current level of fitness.
So, lace up your running shoes as we take you on a fitness journey to becoming a qualified AFO.
What is the Armed Police fitness test?
An Armed Police Officer is required to undergo a multi-stage fitness test (MSFT) consisting of a 15-metre-long-track – commonly known as the “bleep test”.
To successfully complete the test, officers must meet the standard score of 5.4 over a 525m distance with an average total time of 3 minutes and 35 seconds.
The MSFT will assess your fitness and stamina levels, and, upon successful completion, you can go on to protect and serve the community.
However, whilst all armed officers must successfully complete the MSFT, there are different fitness requirements set for each specialism. Read on to discover more.
What are the fitness requirements for an Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO)?
An Authorised Firearm Officer (AFO) is required to undergo the necessary firearms training which includes meeting the AFO minimum bleep score test of 7.6.
An AFO provides tactical responses in line with their firearms training. The main duties of an AFO include providing a static guard service, general armed patrol (i.e., at an airport), protecting a principle, and surveillance.
To successfully be appointed as an AFO, the officer must first complete the required fitness test. Just like a police officer, it is recommended that the participant dedicates themselves to training and building upon their stamina before sitting the test.
What are the fitness requirements for an Armed Response Vehicle (ARV)?
The required minimum bleep test score for an Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) officer is 9.4.
You will note that, with each advanced role, the minimum score continues to increase. With growing responsibilities as you continue to rank up, you must be able to demonstrate your level of dedication to your overall fitness.
An ARV officer is responsible for providing immediate mobile armed response to unpredicted firearms incidents. With their main duty of safeguarding the public, an ARV officer will often attend pre-planned operations to identify, locate, and contain the subject causing threat to the general public.
What are the fitness requirements for a Specialist Firearms Officer (SFO)?
To be successfully appointed as a Specialist Firearms Officer (SFO), you will be required to meet the minimum bleep test score of 10.5.
With a series of advanced rigorous training, all SFO officers must successfully complete their fitness test before they can rightfully carry and use their police firearms.
An SFO must maintain a high level of fitness throughout their career as their duties include responding to high-risk incidents whereby use of a firearm may be necessary to protect the public.
Other duties include participating in policing operations where intelligence suggests use of firearms support may be needed, providing ballistic medical aid to save lives, working alongside the military, and providing safety to the public at large events.
What are the fitness requirements for Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officer (CTSFO)?
The required minimum bleep test score for a Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officer (CTSFO) is 10.5.
Ranked as the highest level of an authorised firearms officer in the UK, a CTSFO must demonstrate a high level of fitness and stamina throughout their career.
Counter Terrorism Policing work in collaboration with all UK police forces including the UK Intelligence community. By preventing, deterring, and investigating terrorist activity, their work ensures the protection and safety of the nation.