Discover how to become a police officer

By Allen Williams (CLET Managing Director)
B Ad Voc Ed, BA(Criminology)

There are lots of people who aspire to become police officers. For many, it may have stemmed from a time when they were young and watching TV shows or real police walking down the street. For others it is the security offered or maybe just the challenge of it all.

However, learning how to become a police officer isn't easy, especially since competition is merit based and the physical/emotional demands are rigorous, even though we are seeing a dramatic drop in standards in some areas at the moment, in particular Queensland Police - which is why proper preparation and education is crucial to not only landing a job as a police recruit in Australia, but understanding everything you should know before you leave your current employment and invest your time, money and emotional energy in achieving a police career.

Starting a career as a police officer can be very rewarding in many different ways. From a financial standpoint police can make a very competitive salary with secure employment conditions, such as holidays, sick and long service leave and generous superannuation, not to mention future employment possibilities with lucrative private security firms, government and mining.

Emotionally speaking, officers can experience the joy of saving a person's life and feel good about making the community a safer place. From a physical/health standpoint, recruits must have a reasonable fitness level, which generally leads to a healthier and more productive lifestyle, at the start anyway! While on the other hand police face high levels of stress and danger at various times, and it is important that people enter at the right time for them, when it suits their maturity level, as police training and what they experience on the street and the requirements to 'toe the line' inside the police culture can take its toll on their mental health long term.

What age should people enter policing? My 'perfect age' for people to enter policing is 28 years of age, why? Because you have been in the workplace for around 10 years, experienced a bit of human nature and in most cases faced some responsibility. The reward of this in policing is you will be able to relate to people with more foresight when they are down on their luck. Not to mention your own ability to pick up risk is not fully developed until your mid 20's. Consequently, entering policing straight out of year 12 is certainly discouraged by CLET and is not a healthy long term option for anyone.

A police career is life changing event and should not be approached like any other employment. Unfortunately our police officers face additional pressures with unhealthy 24/7 rostering, unrealistic deadlines for paperwork and court commitments, not to mention pressure on family and friends when they see a change to their loved ones attitude towards love, life and people just walking down the street, that can even silently lead to suicide for some. This informs my recommendation for anyone entering a career as a police officer to reassess your health, attitude towards life and future direction after 5 years of service and make the correct decision for you and your family going forward.

The purpose of the police career area of this website is to serve as a guide and resource in assisting those who wish to best prepare themselves when working towards entering a police career. CLET encourages education so people have the opportunity to enter a policing career with their eyes open and to be study-ready for the stressors of recruit training and beyond. Education is a very powerful tool to have in your arsenal when considering a police career and 'arms' you with the ability to make informed decisions on your own future and for you to accurately decide if policing is best suited to your personality and employment aspirations when attending police recruitment seminars and/or open days.

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