Government & Defence

Police Officer - Federal

Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers maintain federal law, investigate and prevent crime, and protect lives and commonwealth property.

  • Entry-level education

    Senior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

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What does a Police Officer - Federal do?

Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers maintain federal law, investigate and prevent crime, and protect lives and commonwealth property. The AFP has 3 main divisions - ACT community policing; federal agents, who prevent and detect crimes against Commonwealth law; and protective service officers (PSOs), who perform a range of protective security functions at Commonwealth establishments around Australia.

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Work activities

As an AFP community policing officer, you would:

  • investigate thefts, burglaries and traffic accidents
  • patrol neighbourhoods
  • carry out search warrants
  • search for missing persons
  • keep the peace at public events and demonstrations
  • attend fires, floods and other emergency situations
  • mediate disputes
  • give evidence in court.

As a protective service officer, you would:

  • perform a range of protective security functions at Commonwealth establishments around Australia
  • provide an armed uniform capability at government sites, defence facilities and diplomatic missions
  • perform witness protection duties.

As a federal agent, you would:

  • prevent and detect crimes against Commonwealth law
  • investigate crimes and offences in areas such as terrorism, drug trafficking or fraud
  • participate in joint operations with state and territory police
  • coordinate nationally and internationally with other police forces and crime prevention bodies.
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Key skills and interests

To become a federal police officer, you would need:

  • maturity and a responsible attitude
  • the ability to react quickly and take positive action
  • resilience and confidence
  • the ability to remain calm in difficult situations
  • good team work skills
  • strong communication skills
  • patience and tolerance
  • honesty, fairness and reliability.

You also need to be over 18 years of age, and Australian citizen, have a current and offence-free drivers' licence, and to be able to pass medical, criminal and background checks.

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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

You would work a standard number of hours per week, usually on a shiftwork basis, including nights, weekends and public holidays. You may also be required to be on call.

Conditions

Working conditions vary depending on which team you are part of. You may be based in the office or at locations such as air ports or in embassies. You may be posted anywhere in Australia or its territories. Tasks such surveillance or protection require long periods on duty. You may be given the option of an overseas deployment in locations where the AFP is offering assistance.

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How to become an Police Officer - Federal?

Entry Level Education

To apply to become a police officer (AFP) you usually need to have gained at least your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent, with English.

Completing a degree may increase the likelihood of being accepted to the AFP. For entry into degree courses you need to have gained your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. The AFP recruits graduates from a variety of backgrounds not restricted to legal or criminology studies.

Applicants must also pass aptitude, medical and psychometric tests, as well as background checks, a fitness test and a selection assessment.

Once accepted, applicants must then complete 24 weeks of training at the AFP College in Barton, ACT, followed by a further year of on-the-job training.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of police officers is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations.

Continued interest for public safety will lead to new openings for officers; however, jobs may be competitive, depending on location.

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