Police protect and preserve property, public order and safety through the enforcement of laws.
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
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow moderately
- is likely to reach 76,600 by 2026.
Source: National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 93% of people employed as Police 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 43 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than half of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $2,188 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,958
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,610
Median hourly earnings are $58, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Police||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. 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.
Most Police work in the Public administration and safety industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Police||All Jobs Average|
Around 44% of Police live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
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 Police is 40 years. This is the same as the all jobs average.
A large share of workers are aged 35 to 44 years.
Females make up 27% of the workforce. This is 21 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||Police||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||0.3||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
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and State and Territory Police forces have varying requirements to become a Police Officer. Most jurisdictions require completion of secondary education. Some Police Officers have formal qualifications in justice administration, law or criminology.
- 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||Police||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||6.4||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||1.8||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.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Talking to others.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
55%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Reading work related information.
Looking for ways to help people.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
46%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
46%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Teaching people how to do something.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
41%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
34%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
86%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
76%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
75%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
73%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
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.
55%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
53%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
52%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
51%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
47%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
45%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
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.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
31%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
22%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 general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Read and understand written information.
See details that are far away.
54%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Write in a way that people can understand.
52%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Quickly choose the right movement of the hand, foot, or other body part when there are two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures).
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
87%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
86%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
86%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
85%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
79%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
79%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
76%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
74%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
73%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
72%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
72%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
72%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
72%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
71%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
69%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
68%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
64%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
58%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
55%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
52%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
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.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
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.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
100%In an enclosed vehicle or equipment
Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).
Talk with people face-to-face.
98%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
98%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
97%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
96%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
95%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Work with people in a group or team.
93%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
92%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Talk on the telephone.
90%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
89%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
83%Bright or inadequate lighting
Work in extremely bright or dark lighting conditions.
Use electronic mail.
83%Physically aggressive people
Deal with physically aggressive or violent people.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
82%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
79%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
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.