Police protect and preserve property, public order and safety through the enforcement of laws.

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed. Around one third of workers have a university degree. Even with a qualification, on-the-job training is necessary.

Tasks

  • investigating and prosecuting offences committed in areas such as organised, corporate and computer crime, environmental offences, drug trafficking, fraud, counterfeiting and terrorism
  • securing and examining scenes of crimes and accidents to locate and obtain evidence for analysis
  • protecting witnesses and investigating official corruption
  • maintaining public order and safety
  • patrolling assigned areas to minimise potential for public disturbance and crime
  • investigating accidents, crimes, minor offences and citizens' complaints, gathering evidence, and pursuing, arresting and interviewing suspected offenders
  • testing persons suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and issuing infringement notices for traffic offences
  • directing and re-routing traffic at congested areas
  • attending community meetings and answering inquiries from the public where necessary
  • providing advice and assistance to victims of crime and their families
  • maintaining records and preparing reports

Job Titles

  • Detective
  • Police Officer
  • Detective

    Investigates serious crimes, such as terrorism, homicide, armed robbery, vice and arson, and gathers evidence to arrest and prosecute suspected offenders.

    Specialisations: Detective Sergeant, Plain Clothes Police Officer

  • Police Officer

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

    Specialisations: Bomb Squad Officer, Mounted Police Officer, Search and Rescue Officer, Tactical Response Group Officer

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,600 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    strong
  • Skill Level

    Associate Degree or Diploma
  • Employment Size

    58,300
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    79.5%
  • Female Share

    20.5%
  • Full-Time Share

    93.7%

Find Vacancies

This is a very large occupation employing 58,300 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown.
Strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 5,001 and 10,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Police work in most parts of Australia.
  • They nearly all work in Public Administration and Safety.
  • Almost all work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 36.0 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,600 per week (very high compared to the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 38 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 8 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200552800
200652500
200746800
200866300
200947300
201056500
201150500
201261800
201357900
201455600
201558300
202064300

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsPoliceAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings16001230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryPoliceAll Jobs Average
Full-time93.768.4
Part-time6.331.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)36.040.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Public Administration and Safety99.8
Transport, Postal and Warehousing0.2

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StatePoliceAll Jobs Average
NSW31.131.8
VIC23.625.5
QLD19.419.8
SA6.66.8
WA11.211.2
TAS1.32.0
NT4.31.1
ACT2.61.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketPoliceAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.0-5.45.4
20-243.7-9.99.9
25-3432.9-23.423.4
35-4432.4-21.721.7
45-5424.2-21.121.1
55-594.5-8.78.7
60-642.1-5.95.9
65 and Over0.3-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryPoliceCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males79.5Males53.6
Females20.5Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationPoliceAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate3.0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree32.9-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma31.1-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV15.0-18.918.9
Year 1216.8-18.718.7
Years 11 & 101.2-17.717.7
Below Year 100.0-8.18.1

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed.
Around one third of workers have a university degree. Even with a qualification, on-the-job training is necessary.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Police who are caring, compassionate, empathetic and can communicate clearly with a diverse range of people.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Public Safety and Security

    97% Important

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

  2. Law and Government

    96% Important

    How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.

  3. English Language

    90% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  4. Psychology

    83% Important

    Human behaviour and performance; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

  5. Customer and Personal Service

    79% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

Occupational Information Network First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Police and Detectives Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Performing for or Working Directly with the Public

    98% Important

    Performing for, or speaking with, the public. This includes speaking on television, serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

  2. Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others

    94% Important

    Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving conflicts, and negotiating with people.

  3. Operating Vehicles or Equipment

    93% Important

    Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

  4. Getting Information

    92% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  5. Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events

    92% Important

    Comparing objects, actions, or events, looking for differences between them or changes over time.

Occupational Information Network First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Police and Detectives Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

go to top