How to become a Police Officer - State

Police officers protect the community from crime and disorder by providing services to uphold the law, protect life and property, preserve the peace, prevent crime, detect and apprehend offenders, and help those in need of assistance. After gaining experience, police officers may seek entry to specialist areas such as criminal investigation (detective work), radio communications, prosecutions, juvenile aid, accident investigation, water police, dog handling, traffic control, the mounted unit, education and training, and human resource management.

Personal requirements of a Police Officer - State

  • Enjoy helping people
  • Able to stay calm in difficult situations
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Tolerant of people from all backgrounds and cultures
  • Honest and reliable
  • Willing to accept responsibility
  • Socially mature with a degree of mental toughness
  • Able to analyse and solve problems
  • Have an acceptable traffic/criminal record
  • Australian or New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency
  • Able to satisfy medical requirements

Education & Training for a Police Officer - State

To become a police officer at state or territory level, you usually have to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, although requirements vary. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have tertiary qualifications. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. Applicants must successfully pass entry requirements, which may include literacy and reasoning examinations, character and fitness requirements, a medical test, psychological screening, computer skills testing and a selection panel interview. Successful applicants then undertake a further training program. To learn more about education and training in your state or territory, contact your local police recruiting branch.

Additional Information

Depending on your state or territory, you may need to have: a manual drivers licence, a Provide First Aid Certificate, a Bronze Medallion, Aquatic Rescue certificate or Police Rescue Award, the ability to swim a required distance unaided and computer competency and typing skills. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

Duties & Tasks of a Police Officer - State

Police officers:

  • promote crime prevention and undertake community policing activities to improve the quality of community life
  • patrol assigned areas on foot or in vehicles to check security of property and watch for unusual activity
  • apprehend law breakers
  • investigate criminal offences and question suspicious people about their activities
  • gather information about crimes and accidents by talking to victims and witnesses and taking notes and statements in writing
  • direct and re-route traffic at congested areas
  • respond to citizens' complaints and attend scenes of disturbances and reported illegal activities
  • guard prisoners
  • detain and search suspects for weapons, stolen goods or drugs
  • work with ambulance, firefighting and defence force personnel to control emergency situations such as floods, bomb threats and chemical spills
  • assist injured and distressed people and search for missing or lost people
  • carry out routine clerical work
  • issue infringement notices for traffic offences
  • attend special events (such as football matches) and control crowds where necessary
  • give evidence in court from previously prepared briefs and notes
  • perform random breath tests of drivers to detect those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • secure crime and accident scenes, and locate or obtain evidence for analysis
  • give sympathetic, constructive and reassuring assistance and feedback to victims of crime.

Working conditions for a Police Officer - State

All newly appointed police officers are initially required to perform station and patrol duties. Police officers are required to work shifts, including weekends and public holidays, and serve in any part of the relevant state or territory.

Employment Opportunities for a Police Officer - State

State and territory police departments encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women and people from non-English-speaking backgrounds. Contact the police recruiting branch in your state or territory for further information.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 2.3%

NSW 28.6%

NT 2.4%

QLD 21.6%

SA 8.3%

TAS 2.2%

VIC 23.6%

WA 11%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 73%

Female 27%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 1.2%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 15.3%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 8.9%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 43.8%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 21.6%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 6.4%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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