Staffordshire Police Service takes pride in its officers and staff. They fill jobs that can be tough and demanding and as a result all new recruits need to be fit and healthy. Staffordshire Police checks this by way of a medical assessment and Job Related Fitness Test (JRFT) as part of the recruitment process for new police constables, special constables (volunteer police officers), police community support officers and CDO’s and specialist roles and for yearly licensing. You will be asked to complete a confidential health declaration and attend a medical assessment to check your hearing, eyesight, urine, blood pressure, height/weight and breathing for these roles.
You need to be managing day-to-day life without problems and not be having many sick days off work. If you need regular medication to stay healthy, you may still be accepted. Every candidate receives a detailed individual assessment and we can accept candidates with many common health conditions, as long as they are under control. But if you can’t carry out the role safely, without putting your own health at risk, or you can’t meet some of the core requirements, like resilience, you will not be found fit for the job. No one is rejected because of a medical label. The Equality Act 2010 covers all positions in Staffs Police and if you have a disability, adjustments will be made if it is reasonable to do so. The information given in this document is a guide to how you could improve your health and fitness in order to give yourself the best chance of passing.
Smokers are more likely to have lung and heart problems that may make passing the fitness test difficult. The medical team tests lung function and blood pressure as part of the health assessment. TO PASS – quit smoking as soon as possible or, at the very least, cut back.
Further information on how to quit smoking can be found at www.smokefree.nhs.uk or call the NHS Smoking Helpline 0800 022 4332.
Recreational drugs/substance misuse
Drugs, such as cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine, are against the law, and must never be used by police officers or police staff. The SPF tests for drugs during recruitment, training and in service. TO PASS – avoid all illegal drugs, even as a one-off use.
You can get facts and confidential support from Talk to Frank.
Police officers need eyesight good enough to defend themselves in a tight situation – even if they lose their glasses or lenses. There is the same requirement for other operational staff (PCSOs and Specials). The medical includes an eye test. Being colour blind does not matter except for some specialist roles. After laser surgery you need to wait six weeks before the eye test. TO PASS – you need to meet this standard without glasses or lenses using both eyes together: police officer and special constable 6/36; other roles 6/60. If you use contact lenses, bring solution and containers so that you can remove them. You will be tested without any aids.
There are tips about looking after your eyes at the RNIB website.
You may need to hear your colleagues, members of the public and a radio in noisy surroundings. So you need good hearing to be fit for the job. We are able to consider candidates who wear hearing aids and people who are deaf in one ear.
All candidates whose hearing is below the ideal level get a specialist review by our in-house ear, nose and throat team to decide whether they are fit to enter. You are likely to be unfit for entry to the Police if you have a hearing capability deficit as it compromises your capability as an Officer and poses potential risk to the wider public. The standard you must be able to hear is 84dB at 0.5, 1 and 2 KHz and/or 140 dB at 3, 4 and 6 KHz. Protect your ears from too much noise especially for two days before the medical. Ask your practice nurse to check that your ears are clear of wax.
The RNID has tips on protecting your hearing at: www.rnid.org.uk/information_resources/protect_your_hearing
Diet and BMI
People who are overweight are more likely to struggle with the fitness test, and to get knee pain and other problems that make it hard for them to patrol. Underweight people can be short of muscle bulk so they may fail the Job Related Fitness Test. Your BMI, which is calculated from your height and weight, needs to be in the healthy to overweight range. If your BMI is above 32 (for police officers) or 35 (for PCSOs, CDO’s or Specials) you may be deferred following an appointment with the OHP. If it is likely you will need many months to lose the weight required you will be asked to reapply when this number has dropped. It is never too soon to review your lifestyle, so make sure that you have a healthy diet and take regular exercise.
You can check your BMI at the NHS website.
Speak to Force Fitness assessor/Occupational health physician
During the medical assessment we will measure your blood pressure which shouldn’t be too high or too low. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for strokes, heart failures and chronic kidney disease amongst other conditions. If you present with stage 1+ hypertension (daily average of 135/85 mmHg or higher or clinic reading of 140/90 mmHg) you will not be able to undertake the fitness test without your GP investigating and reporting back regarding a sustained and acceptable control of the condition. Once your GP has identified that your condition is adequately controlled you will be able to progress with your application. Sustained and untreatable hypertension is not compatible with an active Policing role due to the cardiovascular risk and performance compromise it invokes.
The Job Related Fitness Test assesses you to see whether you are physically fit for the job and are ready for Officer Safety Training, where you learn to protect yourself and others. You will be required to undertake a running test (known as the Multi-stage Shuttle Run Test or Bleep Test). TO PASS – improve your fitness before your medical. Different levels of fitness are required for different roles please see the college of policing for job specific roles and their pass level.
The standard pass level for all roles that complete PST excluding specialist roles is 5.4 on the MSFT
For fitness and nutrition advice speak to force fitness assessor.
See Police fitness plan and guidance at the College of policing.
Health conditions and medication
Some common medical issues are outlined below:
You will be individually assessed. Individuals with asthma that is well-controlled with inhalers are acceptable.
You will be individually assessed. Your treatment needs to give good blood-sugar control and be able to adapt to the demands of the job (including shifts and variable meal patterns).
You will be individually assessed. It is recommended that you have not experienced a seizure for at least 18 months (with or without medication) before you apply.
Stress, anxiety or depression
You will be individually assessed. These roles are front-line and public facing, requiring the ability to deal with the public in a wide range of situations. It is recommended that you have been well, without medication, for at least 6 months before you apply.
We are able to take this into account for your selection procedures if you have a report confirming your condition. For police officers this report must be carried out as an adult. Support is available during training and in these roles.
Most allergies are compatible with these roles, but if you have a severe allergy (including a history of collapse or breathing difficulties) you are advised to contact a recruitment doctor for further advice before you apply.
Any type of blood clotting disorder which requires medication such as Warfarin
Before you apply please contact a recruitment doctor for further advice.
To pass - Maintain a good record in your current work with as little sick leave as possible. If you have a health problem, or you’ve recently had a lot of time off, try to bring a copy of your medical records or a note from your doctor with you to your medical.