Government & Defence

Police Officer

Police officers maintain law and order, investigate and prevent crime, and protect lives and property.

  • Entry-level education

    Senior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Police Officer do?

Police officers maintain law and order, investigate and prevent crime, and protect lives and property. Police detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.


Work activities

As a police officer, you would:

  • work in a police station or in a patrol car
  • answer enquiries at the station reception desk
  • respond to calls for help from the public
  • investigate crimes and offences, and make arrests
  • detain and search suspects for items such as weapons, stolen goods or drugs
  • interview witnesses and suspects, prepare crime reports and taking statements
  • give evidence in court
  • direct and re-route traffic around accident sites or during major power failures
  • guard people in custody
  • perform random drug and alcohol tests on drivers
  • issue infringement notices for traffic offences
  • help to police large public events, concerts and demonstrations
  • visit schools to give talks
  • work closely with ambulance, firefighting and other emergency personnel in emergency situations.

Key skills and interests

To become a 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.


Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

In a full-time job you would work a standard number of hours per week, usually on a shiftwork basis, including nights, weekends and public holidays. You could also apply to work part-time.


You would spend much of your time outdoors on foot, in a patrol car or on a motorcycle, in all weathers. You would have indoor duties at the police station, in courts, or when visiting private or business locations on police business.


How to become an Police Officer?

Entry Level Education

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

All successful applicants would attend the police training academy in their State, and after graduation, would spend a period of time as a probationary constable before becoming a fully qualified police officer.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of police officers is projected to grow slower 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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