Medical Standards – New Recruits

West Yorkshire Police – Fit for the Job

Medical Standards – New Recruits

This information applies to the following roles : 

Police Officer (all entry routes, including Direct Entry and Transferees), Special Constable, Community Support Officer, Detention Officer.

 

Important Update

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we may not be able to assess all candidates prior to appointment.  It is essential that candidates are as open as they can be on the medical history questionnaire, any omissions or untruths found at a later date will be regarded as a disciplinary procedure.  Where you need to get the questionnaire signed by the GP (police officer only) please do so.  If this is not possible due to COVID-19 please still submit your questionnaire partially completed.   All candidates will still be assessed prior to deployment or the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever is sooner.

Candidates are still asked to prepare for the medical assessment in the normal way and they will be notified of any change in procedure.

 

West Yorkshire Police takes pride in its officers and staff.  They undertake tasks that can be physically and psychologically demanding and as a result all new recruits need to be fit and healthy.  To test this new recruits may be asked to undertake a job related fitness test (Police Officer Only) and a medical assessment. 

As part the medical assessment you will be asked to complete the following:

  • Medical History Questionnaire (Part 1 – completed by all applicants)
  • Medical History Questionnaire (Part 2 – completed by GP) (Police Officer Only)
  • Vision Testing, including colour vision
  • Audio Test
  • BMI, BP, Urine analysis, lung function
  • Medical Assessment
  • Drugs Testing (Police Officer Only)

Every candidate receives a detailed and individual health assessment.  Having a well-managed pre-existing condition will not necessarily preclude you from undertaking any of the roles, cases are assessed individually to ensure you can carry out the role safely without putting yourself, your health or others at risk.  If you have a health condition or a disability, reasonable adjustments will also be considered.  Where this cannot be achieved you may not be suitable for the role you have applied for.   

The information given in this document is a guide to help you understand the assessment process and determine if you need to improve your health to pass the medical assessment. 

Should you have any health concerns it is strongly recommend that you consult with your GP as soon as is practicably possible.

 

Smoking

Smokers are more likely to have heart and lung problems that may make passing the medical more difficult.  The nurse will perform a spirometry (lung function) test as part of the assessment process. 

To improve your chances:

Stop smoking – Further information can be found at www.smokefree.nhs.uk  or call the NHS stop smoking help line on 0800 0224332

 

Recreational Drug Use

Drugs, such as cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine are against the law and must never be used by Police Officers or Police Staff.   Testing is part of the medical assessment although the results of this are sent directly to the Resourcing Department processing your application.  A positive result is likely to affect your application. 

To improve your chances:

Avoid all illegal drugs, including one off use – further information can be found at www.talktofrank.com

 

Alcohol

Drinking too much can cause high blood pressure.  Over time the pressure on the walls of your arteries means they are more likely to get clogged up or weaken your heart leading to heart failure.

To improve your chances:

You should not regularly drink more than 2 units per day or 14 units per week (spread over 3-4 days).

1 pint (5.2%) = 3 units

1 medium wine (175ml) = 2.3 Units

If you are worried, visit www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support or www.drinkaware.co.uk

 

Diet / Weight & BMI

Guidelines on Police recruitment indicate that you should have a BMI of between 18 and 30.  However, as everyone is different West Yorkshire Police will still review cases where BMI is between 30 and 35 on an individual basis.  Cases above 35 are not likely to pass the medical screening process. 

If you have a high BMI the most important thing you can do is to reduce your weight and start in plenty of time prior to your application and/or medical screening.    

To improve your chances:

  • Eat 3 balanced meals a day
  • Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables to at least 5 portions per day
  • Increase your intake of high fibre foods
  • Cut down on saturated and processed fats
  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Reduce salt  
  • Undertake regular exercise

Further information can be found at :

www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator

www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/height-weight-chart/?tabname=you-and-your-weight

www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/support/healthy-living/managing-your-weight

www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/5-a-day-tips

www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/

 

Fitness

Job Relate Fitness Testing (JRFT) will form part of the Police Officer application process and will continue throughout ones career at regular intervals.  Candidates will be expected to undertake a running test known as a Multi Stage Shuttle Test / Bleep Test. 

Regular exercise can make you feel great, plus it makes your heart stronger, helping you to keep your blood pressure down. 

To improve your chances:

Adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week

    and
     
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

 

One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days every week.  To prepare for your JRFT it is wise to incorporate at least 2-3 runs as part of your 150 minutes per week aerobic activity. 

www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise

www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week

JRFT is not currently undertaken on PCSO or DO applicants prior to appointment but this does not mean you will not be required to undertake this as part of your role or undertake physical tasks as part of the role (PCSOs may be required to use pedal cycles), therefore, it is good advice to anyone applying for roles to have a good level of physical fitness.   

 

Eyesight

Police Officers, Specials, PCSO and Detention Officers all need a good standard of vision to ensure that they are able to protect themselves and undertake the role effectively.  Most colour vision deficiencies are also acceptable.  Corrective aids can be worn as part of the medical assessment and as part of the role. 

To improve your chances:

If you are worried about eyesight, you should ask someone with good vision to assess whether you can read a number plate from 20 metres (with corrective aids if you already use them). 

Should you have any concerns you attend for a full test with an optician. It would be helpful if this was done prior to the medical assessment as this will prevent any delays that could have been avoided. 

 

Hearing

You need to hear sufficiently well enough to understand information and instruction given verbally and often in noisy environments or via a radio.  We are able to consider and encourage applications from candidates who wear hearing aids.  Where hearing aids are worn we may need to refer to a specialist who can perform the required hearing tests. 

To improve your chances:

Start by adopting good lifestyle habits to protect your hearing

Avoid exposure to too much noise 48 hours prior to your medical assessment, such as riding a motorcycle, using loud tools, using headphones or attending loud music events etc.

Further information can be found at :

www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/hearing-health/protect-your-hearing

 

Medical Standards & Guidelines in detail

This web page is only meant as a guide.  Every candidate receives a detailed and individual health assessment.  Having a well-managed pre-existing condition may not preclude you from undertaking any of the roles.  If you have a health condition or a disability, reasonable adjustments will be considered but where this cannot be achieved you may not be able to safely carry out the role of a Police Officer. 

The following link provides you with further and detailed information in relation to the medical standards

HOC 59/2004 – Medical Standards
www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-recruitment-standards-medical-standards-for-police-recruitment

Amended Eyesight Standards
www.gov.uk/government/publications/circular-0072019-eyesight-standards-police-recruitment