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What Happens If You Fail A Police Fitness Test (UK)?

Failing The Police Fitness Test (UK)

What Happens If You Fail A Police Fitness Test (UK)?

You’ve made it this far in your journey to becoming a police officer, and now you’re faced with the dreaded fitness test. 

You’ve practised and trained until your legs feel like jelly and you’re certainly accustomed to the pressure that comes along with the bleep test training.

After all your efforts, you don’t achieve the results you were hoping for. Perhaps it was just an off day, or maybe you let your overthinking thoughts get the better of you. Fret not, we have some good news:

Failing your police fitness test is not the end of the world. 

Although it slightly hinders your progress in becoming a police officer, participants are granted another two attempts, six weeks apart. 

Read on to prepare yourself for the police fitness test and discover the top four reasons why people fail.

The Police Fitness Test

In the UK, all police officers are required to successfully complete a fitness test before they can rightfully protect and serve the community.

All officers must complete a 15 metre multi-stage fitness test (MSFT), also known as the “bleep test”. The goal is to assess whether your fitness and stamina levels are up to scratch to fulfil your role as a police officer. 

A 15 metre-long-track, participants are required to run back and forth against a series of audio beeps. Participants must ensure they complete their shuttle before the sound of the next beep. 

The twist: Each bleep will continue to pick up its pace, meaning that participants will have to crank the speed up with each sound. 

In order to successfully complete the MSFT, officers must meet the standard score of 5.4. The test takes a total of 3 minutes and 35 seconds over a 525m distance and officers must run in time with the audio beeps for four shuttles at level 5.

Below, we explore the MSTF levels, number of shuttles, and the required time per shuttle:

LevelNumber of Shuttles RequiredTime per Shuttle (seconds)
545.5 (required standard)

What Happens If You Fail The Police Fitness Test?

With another two more attempts granted to all participants, it’s not all bad news if you don’t pass the first fitness test. 

To allow ample time for additional training, officers may take their second attempt six weeks after the first, and then their third attempt six weeks after the second. Should they fail all three tests, they will no longer be allowed to continue with their application. 

Becoming a police officer is a highly competitive journey so we encourage you to put in a dedicated amount of effort whilst training for your test. 

Next, we explore the top four reasons why participants fail their police fitness test.

The Top 4 Reasons People Fail the Police Fitness Test

1. Overthink the test

Overthinking. We’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives. 

The pressures of passing the final fitness test can often become overwhelming, and, in turn, cause a participant to completely throw themselves off their game. 

Whilst it is normal for someone to worry about their results, it’s also important to be confident in your own abilities – especially if you have dedicated enough time and effort in preparation. 

If you were lucky (or unlucky) enough to endure the bleep test at secondary school, you will know that the test really is straightforward. 

So, with that, we say – get out of your head, believe in yourself, and let your training do the work. 

2. Turning technique

Although we mentioned that the bleep test is relatively simple, participants can hinder their progress by using an incorrect turning technique. 

In order to maximise your time and effort, it is recommended that participants come to a complete stop at each line. 

Oftentimes, we find people “arcing” around the line as opposed to coming to a complete stop. By doing so, they are placing themselves at a disadvantage as they are increasing the actual distance required. 

3. Training

We’ve covered what the bleep test entails. But just how do we prepare for it?

Often, participants will train by doing the bleep test, and the bleep test only. This is not recommended for a few reasons. Firstly, to successfully complete the bleep test, you are required to have a good level of aerobic capacity. 

This could be achieved by daily running and/or jogging, cycling, or anything else that truly gets the heart pumping. 

Secondly, although passing your test is important, becoming a police officer requires a certain level of fitness throughout your entire career. Not only should you train for your fitness test, but it is important to continue to build your stamina in order to successfully fulfil your duties once you are appointed as a police officer.

4. Practice with the wrong test

Finally, there are a lot of online tools you can utilise to train for your fitness test. However, are participants using the correct ones? 

As we’ve covered previously, the multi-stage fitness test in the UK comprises 15 metres. However, most online bleep tests consist of 20 metres.

Whilst you might be proud of your 20 metres success, this is incorrect and will set back your time by a substantial amount.

Therefore, we advise you to triple-check your online resources to ensure you are setting yourself up for success. 

Tom Brook

Tom Brook

I am a former Police Detective with years of knowledge and experience in investigating serious crimes across Scotland, working with communities and keeping the public safe. I aim to give back to the Policing community with this site!
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