Detectives investigate serious crimes, such as terrorism, homicide, armed robbery, vice and arson, and gather evidence to arrest and prosecute suspected offenders.
Specialisations: Detective Sergeant, Plain Clothes Police Officer.
Experienced Police Officers can undertake further training to become a Detective.
Investigates and prosecutes offences.
Secures and examines scenes of crimes and accidents to obtain evidence.
Protects witnesses and investigates official corruption.
Maintains public order and safety.
Patrols assigned areas to minimise potential for public disturbance and crime.
Investigates accidents, crimes, minor offences and citizens' complaints, gathering evidence, and pursuing, arresting and interviewing suspected offenders.
Tests persons suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and issues infringement notices for traffic offences.
Directs and re-routes traffic at congested areas.
Attends community meetings and answers inquiries.
Gives advice and assistance to victims of crime and their families.
Maintains records and prepares reports.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Police, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 93% of people employed as Detectives work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 27 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 44 hours per week in their main job. This is the same as the all jobs average.
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Most Detectives work in the Public administration and safety industry.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Detectives||All Jobs Average|
Around 65% of Detectives live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Victoria has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Detectives is 39 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 35 to 44 years.
Females make up 25% of the workforce. This is 23 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Detectives||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||0.2||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
Experienced Police Officers can undertake further training to become a Detective.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Public Safety VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Detectives||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||5.6||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.4||12.5|
Source: 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.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Police who are caring, compassionate, empathetic and can communicate clearly with a diverse range of people.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Talking to others.
55%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Reading work related information.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
54%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
45%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Looking for ways to help people.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Teaching people how to do something.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
37%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
78%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
74%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
74%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
62%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
52%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
52%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
50%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
49%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
48%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
44%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
38%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
25%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
54%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
See details that are far away.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
46%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
45%Speed of recognition
Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
78%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
78%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
77%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
75%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
74%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
73%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
71%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
70%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
69%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
69%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
68%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
67%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
65%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
65%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
60%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
59%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
57%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
52%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
48%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Interests and demands
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.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Talk on the telephone.
Use electronic mail.
Talk with people face-to-face.
97%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
97%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
94%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
93%In an enclosed vehicle or equipment
Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).
92%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
92%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
91%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
90%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Work with people in a group or team.
87%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
85%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
84%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
84%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
83%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
82%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
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, 33-3021.01 - Police Detectives.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.