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

  • $1,600 Weekly Pay
  • 61,500 workers Employment Size
  • Strong Future Growth
  • High skill Skill level rating
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment
  • 92.6% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 34.2 hours Average full-time
  • 40 years Average age
  • 27.2% female Gender Share

The number of Police is about the same as 5 years ago and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years:
from 61,500 in 2018 to 66,600 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 9,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 1,800 a year).

  • Size: This is a very large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2017.
  • Location: Police work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in the Public Administration and Safety industry.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (92.6%, much higher than the all jobs average of 68.4%) showing part-time work may be hard to find.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 34.2 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 40 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 27.2% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
200853100
200959700
201050300
201152100
201253100
201361900
201458100
201558200
201658500
201763400
201861500
202366600

Weekly Earnings

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

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Safety98.8
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services0.9
Administrative and Support Services0.2
Education and Training0.1

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 2017, 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
NSW28.031.6
VIC28.126.2
QLD19.919.7
SA8.56.7
WA9.310.8
TAS1.82.0
NT3.01.1
ACT1.31.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
15-190.0-5.25.2
20-243.0-9.99.9
25-3429.4-23.623.6
35-4436.1-21.721.7
45-5423.1-20.820.8
55-597.1-8.88.8
60-641.0-6.06.0
65 and Over0.3-4.04.0

Education Level

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 Certificate3-8.68.6
Bachelor degree32.9-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma31.1-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV15-18.918.9
Year 1216.8-18.718.7
Years 11 & 101.2-17.717.7
Below Year 100-8.18.1

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.

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

  • 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.

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.

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The 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.

Activities

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The 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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