Life On The Job

Life on the Job

POLICE OFFICER -  Senior Sergeant Tim Hardiman

Senior Sergeant Regional Support Team, Priority Communities Division, Victoria Police Force
Melbourne Area, Australia Public Safety

Victoria Police Force

2000 – Present (20 years)

Portrait Photograph of Tim Hardiman


Policing is hard to explain as it takes in all sorts of things, especially after dark when most places have closed down,

Police seem to get the call when people get stuck. On a basic level policing is about helping people and upholding the law.

Police get to drive cars, ride bicycles and motor cycles, fly helicopters, drive boats, search and rescue, dive, and process offenders before attending court.

You need to be cool headed, calm and decisive in your actions with a sense of empathy to those you often deal with in a time of crisis.

You also need to be open minded and non-judgemental in order to achieve the best out come for all you deal with and your own peace of mind.


I attended a technical school and reached Form 5 or Leaving [Year 11 nowadays. Students could leave school in Year 11] as it was in those days.

I was an average student and had average marks in English and Mathematics, learning more on the job with all the typing and brief development and statement taking honing my skills each day.

I applied and completed a number of extra courses during my career and this complimented my experience and approach to policing over the years.

There are also many opportunities with each position attained to learn new skills that often if you decide to leave policing are valued by the private and government sectors.

Training & Development

The police academy give basics to everyone entering, life experiences are the best and should be gathered along the way before entering but there are still plenty to learn on the job.

Did You Know?

All entry level police officers commence their employment with 33 weeks of training at the Victoria Police Academy.

Training at the Victoria Police Academy requires dedication and a commitment to success. The training is rigorous, disciplined and thorough, it is also physically, academically and mentally demanding.

Victorian Police Academy
Victorian Police Academy

Academy training hours are usually 7:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday, but these hours may be varied to include some afternoon shifts. There may also be a need to undertake study in the evenings after classes end for the day, especially prior to exams.

Over the 33 week training phase, your days at the Academy will be divided between lectures, physical training and learning the operational skills necessary to carry out your duties. At the end of week 12 you will be sworn in as a Constable of Police. During the first 23 weeks you will be tested in written exams, practical exams, report writing and communication skills.

In weeks 13, 18 and 26, you will perform duties at a police station and on the Safe Streets initiative. Your duties will be expanded over time as you gain knowledge, skills and experience. By training both at the Academy and at a police station or in other settings, you will become a capable, confident and professional member of our team.

This intensive training is just the beginning of your journey.

Over the next 83 weeks you will undergo further training, with at least one scheduled return to the Academy. When you have successfully completed all this, you will graduate with a Diploma of Public Safety with Victoria Police and be confirmed as a Constable.

Upon appointment to Victoria Police, you may be required to perform duty at any location within Victoria as determined by Victoria Police.
(Source: Victoria Police)

Self defence, firearms training, maintaining a fitness level along with negotiation skills are invaluable in this occupation.

Squad members assist each other and swap stories that help in other times and places.

Training these days is alternated between time in the academy and time at a 24 hour station; its 'on the job' training and you soon know if you are cut out for it with long hours and varying incidents that test your resilience and nerve.

Once out you get time to make up your mind if traffic or crime is your preferred pathway; if its neither there are over 50 different positions available to choose from such as prosecuting, crime scene analyst is or many others.


The basic wage is pretty good these days for police and there is plenty of opportunities for increases with overtime and additional shifts, some rostered and some unexpected.

Policing has a rank structure and so when you start you are at the bottom taking orders from everyone else.

But it doesn't take long to get an extra strip or two and along with the responsibilities come extra pay.

After 40 years in policing and an understanding wife, I have been able to raise my kids buy a house and set myself up for a comfortable retirement.

There have been many of my friends that I joined with and didn't stay as long but have been able to obtain good jobs in the private and government sectors as a result of the years of experience gained from policing.

Experiences & Opportunities

I have had distant members of my family in policing but no one close to me. I did however enjoy watching people and seeing their reactions to certain situations and thought policing offered a variety of different opportunities on a daily basis for interaction with a wide range of people in different situations some often life threatening.

There were a couple of policing TV shows around at the time and these affirmed my thoughts on the type of profession I wanted to enter; and it didn't let me down.

I entered policing with an open mind but had a focus on investigations although you have to do time "on the beat'' learning the basics before you can become a detective.

I attended traffic accidents some involving deaths, suicides, unexpected deaths, family violence incidents, industrial accidents, injured animals, neighbourhood disputes, signed legal documents, attended courts, managed prisoners in cells and transported them to prison.

I learnt to type and compile briefs for the coroner's, magistrate, county and supreme courts and take witness statements.

I conducted undercover operations involving the gathering of evidence, swearing of warrants and surveillance; before arresting charging and prosecuting the offenders.

I prosecuted cases on behalf of the police in the magistrate and coroners court system.

From time to time I applied for promotions and sat exams to obtain the next rank and also the important pay to went with it. I was also given opportunities to do extra studies in other qualified areas that would be a benefit to policing.



Victoria Police: Police Career

Victoria Police

The Age: Lifting their game - September 2003
[Tim comments on shop lifting here]

Lifting their game

School's Out - 2009 - PDF page 3

Schools out 2009



Neighbourhood Watch

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle

Australian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Personal and social capabilityAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capabilities



1. Neighbourhood Watch Australasia (NHWA) is an overarching Crime Prevention body:


but appears to have only "oldies" as volunteers. Ask your parents or carers if you can attend a local Neighbourhood Watch meeting together to help the police with Crime Prevention within your community.

2. Set up a Neighbourhood Watch community within your school. What do you think you would report on? Would it be possible for you and your group of Neighbourhood Watchers to create a positive environment at school - by being more friendly. How would you go about this?

3. In this PDF : Local copy

There are 14 pages of different activities to undertake. Look at the booklet and complete ONE activity [at least!].

Neighbourhood Watch




Police Action Role Play 

MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability

Intercultural UnderstandingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Intercultural Understanding

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity


1. "You need to be cool headed, calm and decisive in your actions with a sense of empathy to those you often deal with in a time of crisis." [Said Tim above].

Form groups of 4 - 5 students.

"As part of the process of applying to become a police officer, various areas of your ability will be tested and assessed. At your first interview, for example, aspects of your personality will be assessed in order to determine whether you have the right skills to become a police officer.

The role play section is designed to test your ability to handle different situations. Again the aim is to see how you would perform against a typical day-to-day scenario that a police officer would come up against. It is another way to test the core skills needed to become a [UK] police officer."
(Source: How2Become)

2. Set up a role play situation:

a. two people are the Police Officers

b. one person is the 'victim' or 'complainer'

c. one person is the 'culprit'

d. Your Teacher is the Assessor.

3. You will be given one of these roles and a scenario. You will be given 5 minutes to think about what you will say and interact.

4. Research on how to go about your role


Look at the following video: How to Pass the Police Officer Selection Process - New Core Competencies 2014 UK (35 minutes) Video


5. Police Role Play: Tips and Advice


6. Police Role Play Scenario

An example of this role is the following:

A shop-owner has been caught distributing leaflets without a permit to do so and comes complaining to you.

You will be playing the role of a police officer in charge of the security team who has stopped the shop-owner from doing so. He is very irate complaining that he has been running this shop for years without any trouble and now the security officers are giving him a hard time.

You need to explain to him that it is indeed against the law to distribute this material at this time and place.

This needs to be done in a sensitive and calm manner, keeping the shop-owners trust whilst at the same time not giving into his demands.  (Source: How2Become)


7. The Scenarios to Use

You have seen how Police Experts role play this scenario. You are now to select one of the following scenarios to role play:

a. You are called to make a report of an elderly lady who has dementia and who has gone missing while shopping.

You will be required to interview her relative who was out for the day with her.  (Source: How2Become)


b. On the day in question, the defendant Ms Jones was observed by store security acting suspiciously in the sporting good section of the store.

The store security officer observed the Ms Jones enter a change room with the item in question and exit without it. They believed the shirt had been put on under other clothing in an attempt to hide it and followed Ms Jones out of the store.

The defendant was spoken to and asked to return to the store where she was questioned about the shirt.

Police were called and Ms Jones Co-operated/did not cooperate.

She has no prior convictions/the following prior convictions. [You can choose from these options].
Courts SA)

8. Reflection


How did you go?

a. Did you listen, truly listen to the member of the public?

b. Did you remain calm and defuse the situation?

c. How conifident and professional were you in your dealing with the situation?

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