Police Officers maintain public order, and enforce 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.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and State/Territory Police forces have varying requirements to become a Police Officer. Most require you to complete secondary education. A course in justice administration, law or criminology might be helpful.

Tasks

  • Investigates and prosecutes offences.
  • Secures and examines crime and accident scenes to obtain evidence.
  • Protects witnesses and investigates corruption.
  • Maintains public order and safety.
  • Patrols assigned areas to prevent public disturbance and crime.
  • Investigates accidents, crimes, minor offences and citizens' complaints, gathering evidence, and pursuing, arresting and interviewing suspected offenders.
  • Tests drivers suspected of using alcohol/other drugs and issues infringement notices for traffic offences.
  • Directs and re-routes traffic at congested areas.
  • Attends meetings and answers inquiries.
  • Provides advice and assistance to crime victims and their families.
  • Keeps records and prepares reports.

More about Police

All Police

  • $2,036 Weekly Pay
  • Strong Future Growth
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment

Police Officers

  • 48,200 workers Employment Size
  • High skill Skill level rating
  • 93% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 43 hours Average full-time
  • 40 years Average age
  • 27% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Police Officers (in their main job) grew moderately over 5 years:
from 46,700 in 2011 to 48,200 in 2016.

  • Size: This is a large occupation.
  • Location: Police Officers work in many regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in the Public Administration and Safety industry.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (93%, much higher than the average of 66%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 43 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 40 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 27% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Public Administration and Safety99.2
Education and Training0.5
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services0.1
Other Services0.1
Other Industries0.1

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StatePolice OfficersAll Jobs Average
NSW28.631.6
VIC23.625.6
QLD21.620.0
SA8.37.0
WA11.010.8
TAS2.22.0
NT2.41.0
ACT2.31.9

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketPolice OfficersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.2-5.05.0
20-244.2-9.39.3
25-3427.8-22.922.9
35-4433.2-22.022.0
45-5427.0-21.621.6
55-596.0-9.09.0
60-641.2-6.06.0
65 and Over0.3-4.24.2

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationPolice OfficersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate6.4-10.110.1
Bachelor degree21.6-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma43.8-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV8.9-21.121.1
Year 1215.3-18.118.1
Year 112.2-4.84.8
Year 10 and below1.9-12.512.5

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and State/Territory Police forces have varying requirements to become a Police Officer. Most require you to complete secondary education. A course in justice administration, law or criminology might be helpful.

Checks, licences and tickets

You may need:

  • Bronze Medallion or swimming certification
  • driver's licence
  • manual drivers licence
  • national police check
  • first aid certificate
  • medical test
  • fitness test
  • Psychometric or aptitude tests

Thinking about study or training?

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Public Safety VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

Useful links and resources


The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Customer and Personal Service

    86% Skill level

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  2. Psychology

    78% Skill level

    Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.

  3. Public Safety and Security

    76% Skill level

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

  4. Education and Training

    75% Skill level

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  5. Law and Government

    73% Skill level

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

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 33-3051.01 - Police Patrol Officers.

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.

Filter Work Environment

Demands

The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

  1. In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment

    100% Important

    How often do you work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car)?

  2. Face-to-Face Discussions

    99% Important

    How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

  3. Contact With Others

    98% Important

    How much do you have contact with people (face-to-face, by telephone, or any other way)?

  4. Deal With External Customers

    98% Important

    How important is it to work with customers or the public?

  5. Being Exact or Accurate

    97% Important

    How important is being very exact or highly accurate?

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 33-3051.01 - Police Patrol Officers.

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