As PCSOs go out on patrol, it’s important that they are fit enough to do the job.
That’s why every potential PCSO undergoes a fitness assessment as part of the recruitment process. Called the 'bleep test', the assessment involves three and a half minutes of shuttle runs over 15m at a gradually increasing level of speed.
To pass the test, potential recruits must achieve a Level 5.4 rating, which means being able to 'beat the bleep' by running the 15m stretch in five or six seconds by the end of the test.
Both iTunes and Google Play have apps to help you to train for the 15m bleep test, and you can also find videos on YouTube that give you an idea of how it works.
If you haven’t done a lot of physical training, the NHS couch-to-5k programme is recommended to build your general level of endurance and fitness. You can then concentrate on specific training for the bleep test.
As well as the bleep test, potential PCSO recruits are tested for their body mass index (BMI) – a measure of healthy weight. To pass, recruits must have a BMI rating between 18 and 30.
Fitness is an important part of the job, so you do have to pass if you want to be a PCSO. However it isn’t just one chance and that’s it if you fail. We understand that sometimes people do just have an off-day, so recruits are allowed up to three attempts to pass the bleep test, with up to six weeks in between each test, so you do have a good opportunity to make the grade.