The Bleep Test

This now forms part of the police fitness test for all regulars and most Specials, and you must pass it to proceed.

The multi-stage fitness test, also known as the 'bleep test', 'beep test', or 'shuttle run test, is a very popular method of testing fitness because it is simple to conduct, needing hardly any equipment, and allows large groups of candidates to be tested at the same time.

The test involves candidates running continuously between two fixed points set 15 metres apart. This is usually done in a large inside area such as a sports hall.

The runs from side to side are synchronised with a pre-recorded audio track, which plays beeps at set intervals. As the test proceeds, the interval between each beep reduces, requiring the candidates to run faster between the points, until it is no longer possible to keep in synch with the recording, or until the test is ended by the instructor.

Each candidate will usually wear a numbered bib. You must ensure that you cross the line before the beep each time. The instructor will usually demonstrate, or allow you a couple of practice runs before the actual measured test. During the test, you are allowed up to three 'warnings' if you are behind the beep. The instructor will call out your number to warn you. If you repeatedly fail to keep up with the beep, the instructor will call out your number and you must drop out of the test - unfortunately this means you have failed.

Beep tests are usually split into a number of different levels, with a number of beeps at each level. The requirement for police officer candidates in England and Wales is to reach level 5.4 (i.e. level 5, four beeps). Total running time is about 3 minutes 40 seconds. In Scotland the level is set at between 9.2 and 6.10, dependent on age.

While the beep test is daunting to many, it is not a difficult test for someone of reasonable fitness and body mass. You can download a copy of the beep test if you want to practice it, but if you are concerned about your ability to pass the test then have a look at our guide with some ideas to start improving your fitness.

Scottish standards

Downloadable Copy of Bleep Test (Power Users Only - Upgrade Here)

Purchase the Bleep Test from the PoliceSpecials Shop