POLICE officers in Lancashire are amongst the least fit in the country, official figures show.

Some 22 of the 344 officers who took the test fell short, with 6.4 per cent failing overall, latest results from the professional standards body the College of Policing said.

Nationally, only two per cent of police officers across 32 forces failed the test.

Lancashire Constabulary came second from bottom in the results table, behind only North Yorkshire where 16.2 per cent of officers failed.

The new fitness testing, which consists of a 15-metre ''bleep'' shuttle run test will become compulsory on September 1, was brought in after recommendations made by Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor.

If an officer fails the fitness test at the first attempt, it is advised that they are allowed at least two retakes before forces use "unsatisfactory performance" against the participating officer.

Rose Bartlett, recruitment standards policy manager at the College of Policing, which has released fitness test guidance for forces, said: "The results show that the vast majority of officers tested are fit.

"The new guidance issued to forces has been designed to provide supportive measures to help officers to pass and the College has now commissioned research in order to understand why women and older officers have a lower pass rate.

"The College will continue to monitor the results of police fitness tests and support forces in helping officers to pass."

Lancashire Police head of training, Victor Robinson said: “The reported figures only cover the period at the start of the year when we had just started fitness testing all officers.

“The current figures show a failure rate of 1 per cent, one of the best in the country.

“Effectively it would appear we got off to a shaky start but the test results now seem to have settled down.

“I am confident that the fitness levels for Lancashire officers are high and that the vast majority will pass the fitness test.”

The endurance test involves a series of shuttle runs between two lines 50ft (15m) apart at a steadily increasing pace controlled by means of a speaker emitting ‘bleep’ signals in decreasing time periods.

Officers will be expected to pass the bleep test on an annual basis.