Police Officer

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Commissioned Police Officer
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State Police Officer
   Government and Defence

Practical or MechanicalClerical or OrganisingHelping or advisingSkill Level 3
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Police officers protect the community from crime and disorder by providing services to uphold the law, protect life and property, preserve the peace, prevent crime, detect and apprehend offenders, and help Future Growth Strong those in need of assistance.

A police officer maintains public order, and enforces laws by investigating crimes, patrolling public areas, and arresting suspected offenders.

They assist people in emergency situations and coordinate emergency management procedures. Police officers also play an important role educating the community about crime prevention and creating safer communities. Police officers must also write reports and maintain information databases on a daily basis.

ANZSCO description: Maintains public order, and enforces laws by investigating crimes, patrolling public areas and arresting suspected offenders.

Alternative names: Australian Federal Police Officer, Detective, Police Officer - State

Specialisations: Bomb Squad Officer, Dog Handler, Intelligence Officer, Mounted Police Officer, Patrol Inquiry Officer, Search and Rescue Officer, Tactical Response Group Officer, Water Police Officer

All newly appointed police officers are initially required to perform station and patrol duties.

After gaining experience, police officers may seek entry to specialist areas such as criminal investigation (detective work), radio communications, prosecutions, juvenile aid, accident investigation, water police, dog handling, traffic control, the mounted unit, education and training, and human resource management.


Knowledge, skills and attributes

A police officer needs: Crime Scene

  • physically fit and able to satisfy medical requirements

  • the ability to listen to people from all walks of life and be tolerant of people from all backgrounds and cultures

  • good team working and communication skills

  • to be honest, reliable and responsible

  • socially mature with a degree of mental toughness

  • to enjoy helping people and be sensitive to situations where understanding of trauma and loss has occurred, and recognising where assertiveness and confidence are required in times of conflict

  • able to analyse and solve problems

  • have an acceptable traffic/criminal record

  • the ability to stay calm in difficult situations

  • Australian or New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency


Duties and Tasks

Police officers may perform the following tasks:

  • promote crime prevention and undertake community policing activities to improve the quality of community life

  • patrol assigned areas on foot or in vehicles to check security of property and watch for unusual activity

  • apprehend law breakers

  • investigate criminal offences and question suspicious people about their activities

  • gather information about crimes and accidents by talking to victims and witnesses and taking notes and statements in writing

  • direct and re-route traffic at congested areas

  • respond to citizens' complaints and attend scenes of disturbances and reported illegal activities

  • guard prisoners

  • detain and search suspects for weapons, stolen goods or drugs

  • work with ambulance, firefighting and defence force personnel to control emergency situations such as floods, bomb threats and chemical spills

  • assist injured and distressed people and search for missing or lost people

  • carry out routine clerical work

  • issue infringement notices for traffic offences

  • attend special events such as football matches and control crowds where necessary

  • give evidence in court from previously prepared briefs and notes

  • perform random breath tests of drivers to detect those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • secure crime and accident scenes, and locate or obtain evidence for analysis

  • give sympathetic, constructive and reassuring assistance and feedback to victims of crime.

Did You Know?

LOTJ
In 1915, the NSW Police Department advertised two positions for female police. Nearly 500 women applied for the positions. They had to be unmarried, wear civilian clothes and not issued a uniform or allowed to have firearms.

One of these first female detectives was Lillian Armfield.
She is Australia's first female detective and was only armed with her handbag!
She served until December 1949 but was given no superannuation!


Lillian Armfield
Lillian Armfield
(Source: SMH)

Read more about Lillian here.



In 1973, Doreen Peters joins as the first Aboriginal female employed by the NSWPF and the first Aboriginal Public Servant.
Doreen retired on 16 June 2011 after serving 38 years with the Police.

In 1974, women detectives issued with firearms and became eligible by statute to sit for promotional examinations!

(Sources: Australian Dictionary of Biography; NSW Police History)

Working conditions

Most police officers begin their careers in Frontline or Operational Policing. An operational police officer is often the first on the scene in response to calls for help or public disorder incidents. Operational police officers are seen as the 'human face' of the Police Service and their work involves constant liaison with the community. Police officers must also write reports and maintain information databases on a daily basis.

There is also an expectation that police officers be prepared to work anywhere in the State where they are employed, and they can be expected to work shifts of up to 12 hours at a time. Police officers in country towns are expected to handle almost all aspects of policing and can gain a great deal of experience in a variety of roles.

Police officers are required to work shifts including weekends and public holidays and serve in any part of the relevant state or territory.

Man shot in streetTools and technologies

Police officers, particularly those working as frontline police officers, need to have good driving skills, to pursue another vehicle or to get to the scene of an incident quickly and safely. Police officers can choose to carry and use a firearm, a taser, oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray (pepper spray), an expandable baton, and handcuffs, and they must know how to use a hand held radio.

Police officers also need basic computing and typing skills.

Education and training/entrance requirements

Applicants must be Australian or New Zealand citizens or a Permanent Resident and are required to pass a Traffic and Criminal Check. They also need to hold a current Provide First Aid Certificate and a ‘C’ Class driver’s licence, with no more than eight demerit points.

Applicants who meet these pre-requirements will be invited to commence the selection process, involving a series of written, physical, psychological and medical checks.

Successful applicants are required to attend a 28 week training course at the State Police Academy.   This is followed by an 18 month probationary period.

If you are between the ages of 16 and 18 years you can apply for a cadet traineeship through the State Police Department. You will need to have Australian or New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency in Australia.

You can also complete the two year Associate Degree in Criminology and Justice at University. However, if you wish to apply for a position as a police officer, you will need to apply at the start of your third semester of university study.

 

AFP
   Government and Defence

Clerical or OrganisingHelping or advisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 1
Skill Level 2Skill Level 3Skill Level 4Skill Level 5



Police officers working for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) are responsible for policing federal law in all states and territories, and for community policing in the ACT and Australia's external Future Growth Strong territories.

The AFP, with its headquarters located in Canberra, is Australia's international law enforcement and policing agency. It is the chief source of advice to the Australian Government on policing issues, enforces Commonwealth criminal law and protects Commonwealth and national interests.

Alternative names: Also known as ACT Police Officer and Federal Agent.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • of sound character Computer Crime

  • at least 18 years of age

  • a full, unrestricted manual vehicle drivers licence

  • able to satisfy medical and fitness requirements

  • Australian citizenship.

Duties and Tasks

Australian Federal Police officers may perform the following tasks:

  • investigate and prosecute offences committed against the Commonwealth in areas such as organised, corporate and computer crime; environmental offences; drug trafficking; fraud; counterfeiting and terrorism

  • confiscate proceeds of crime when an offender is convicted

  • carry out VIP and diplomatic protection duties as directed

  • protect police witnesses and investigate the unlawful disclosure of government information and/or official corruption

  • work in joint operations with state and territory police

  • liaise with other police forces and crime prevention institutions to combat international crime

  • contribute to United Nations activities such as peacekeeping and international aid programs

  • undertake clerical and administrative duties.

Working conditions

Australian Federal Police officers do shiftwork and their duties vary from team to team. They are required to serve anywhere in Australia, or in the Australian territories of Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay, and be willing to move with the job depending on operational requirements.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a police officer (AFP) you usually have to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12, or complete Year 10 plus a trade certificate. Tertiary qualifications may add to your competitiveness and, wherever possible, the AFP seeks to recruit graduates from a wide range of disciplines, not limited to law, justice or criminology studies.

To get into degree courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study.

Successful applicants complete 24 weeks of training at the AFP College in Barton, ACT. Recruits complete a further 12 months of on- the-job training.

To join the AFP, applicants must pass aptitude, medical and psychometric tests, as well as security checks, a fitness test and a selection assessment. Applicants must hold a Provide First Aid Certificate and be able to swim 100 meters unaided.

Employment opportunities

Appointment to the AFP is based on merit, and recruits have the opportunity to seek employment in all states and territories of Australia. Overseas postings are also available.

Recruits may be employed for duties as plain-clothed Federal Agents, or as uniformed officers in community policing in the ACT.

In addition to performing a variety of duties, recruits have the opportunity to gain experience in specialised policing roles (both uniformed and plain-clothed), as well as the chance to collaborate with national and international law enforcement agencies.

Entry is highly competitive. Job opportunities depend on the level of government funding and technological change in areas such as communication, computer technology, surveillance equipment, data collection and forensic services.

The AFP is an equal opportunity employer and has an Indigenous recruitment and career development strategy.

Responsibilities and Challenges

Police divers are usually police officers first and then divers later. As such they have all the responsibilities that are bestowed upon a police officer as well as those added by the specific nature of their work. In some forces divers will hold multiple roles and diving will only make up part of their day-to-day work.

The responsibilities of the police dive squads have been extended to include anti-smuggling, counter terrorism and critical infrastructure security roles. Many of the squads have appointed additional staff and are acquiring new and sophisticated high-tech equipment to make the counter-terrorism and critical port infrastructure protection capabilities of the police diver more effective in this new threat environment.

Police divers sometimes have the very difficult task of dealing with the relatives of drowning victims and those affected by crime. They are asked to cope with scenes and situations that many will find to be traumatic or even gruesome. As a minimum this occupation will require commitment to a high degree of professionalism at all times.

Appointment to the police dive squads is highly sought after and entry to the squads has historically been very competitive, and selection procedures both physically and mental demanding with only the most highly skilled and determined applicants being accepted.


What Being a Police Diver Can Offer

This is one of the few types of commercial diving that offers divers the opportunity to save life – whilst not a common occurrence, certainly a highlight.

Other highlights include the opportunity to contribute specialist skills to major police investigations and be responsible for the location of critical evidence required to prosecute offenders or prevent catastrophe.

How to Become a Police Diver

Although there is some variation between the various squads, members are generally trained and certified as ADAS Part 1:Occupational SCUBA Diver to 30m and ADAS Part 2R:Restricted SSBA Diver to 30m or Part 3R: Restricted SSBA Diver to 50m divers using surface supplied equipment on air to 30 or 50 metres respectively.

The process may vary in detail from squad to squad, but will certainly include physical fitness testing, a task-suitability assessment and then a rigorously assessed training program.

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Parliamentarian

Urban and Regional Planner

Police Officer

Community Corrections

Diplomat

Public Servant

Coroner

Primary Products Inspector

Tourist Information Officer

Transport Services Officer

Meteorologist

Emergency Disaster Planner

Air Force Officer

WHS Officer

Electorate Officer

Park Ranger

Prison Officer

Fisheries Officer

Postal Worker

Local Government Inspector

Biosecurity Officer

Border Force Officer

Naval Officer

Road Worker

Army Officer

Parliamentarian

Urban and Regional Planner

Police Officer

Community Corrections

Diplomat

Public Servant

Coroner

Primary Products Inspector

Tourist Information Officer

Transport Services Officer

Meteorologist

Emergency Disaster Planner

Air Force Officer

WHS Officer

Electorate Officer

Park Ranger

Prison Officer

Fisheries Officer

Postal Worker

Local Government Inspector

Biosecurity Officer

Border Force Officer

Naval Officer

Road Worker

Army Officer

Parliamentarian

Urban and Regional Planner

Police Officer

Community Corrections

Diplomat

Public Servant

Coroner

Primary Products Inspector

Tourist Information Officer

Transport Services Officer

Meteorologist

Emergency Disaster Planner

Air Force Officer

WHS Officer

Electorate Officer

Park Ranger

Prison Officer

Fisheries Officer

Postal Worker

Local Government Inspector

Biosecurity Officer

Border Force Officer

Naval Officer

Road Worker

Army Officer

Parliamentarian

Urban and Regional Planner

Police Officer

Community Corrections

Diplomat

Public Servant

Coroner

Primary Products Inspector

Tourist Information Officer

Transport Services Officer

Meteorologist

Emergency Disaster Planner

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