Australian Police Recruitment – How To Join

When researching how to join Australian Police Agencies, the application form will often come up as being an extremely important step. Your ability to move through the rest of the selection process is determined by your ability to complete the application properly. Not only should you have a thorough understanding of the qualities candidates must possess to successfully carry out the role of Police Officer, you must meet some specific minimum requirements.

Australian Police Officer near the town hall

How to Join Australian Police Agencies – Minimum Requirements

If you want to become a police officer in Australia, you must:

  • Be over the age of 18;
  • Have competed either Year 12 education or Year 10 with a trade certificate or similar qualification;
  • Be an Australian citizen or New Zealand Citizen with a special category visa;
  • Have a valid manual vehicle driver’s licence;
  • Be healthy and physically fit;
  • Be self-motivated and willing to serve;
  • Have a first-aid certificate;
  • Have the confirmed ability to swim 100 metres freestyle, non-stop, clothed and unaided.

Some police departments have additional requirements. Before applying to any police department, it is advisable to learn which physical, educational, and other requirements applicants must possess. These details are readily accessible on each service’s website.The Australian police agencies are as follows:

  • Australian Federal Police (AFP);
  • New South Wales Police Force (NSW);
  • Northern Territory Police (NT);
  • Queensland Police (QLD);
  • South Australia Police (SA);
  • Tasmania Police (TAS);
  • Victoria Police (VIC);
  • Western Australia Police (WA).

How to Join Australian Police Agencies – Desirable Candidate Qualities

Before you learn how to join Australian Police Agencies, you should be aware that all of them look for the very best candidates. The testing and selection process are designed to weed out those candidates who do not meet minimum physical, mental, and emotional standards; candidates who excel in certain categories are understandably much more desirable than those who do not. Some desirable qualities for those who wish to take on the role of Police Officer include the following:

  • Honesty, personal accountability, and integrity. Candidates will undergo thorough background investigations to ensure that they meet the standards of the service.
  • A clean record. While people with minor criminal convictions and traffic convictions are welcome to apply for positions, some convictions are serious enough to prevent an applicant from moving forward. If you have a conviction on your record, you should discuss it openly with recruitment personnel to find out whether it would affect your chances of successful selection.
  • Extra education or work experience. Prior learning experience such as college credit will help your chances. In addition, if you have had some previous work experience, particularly work within some capacity of law enforcement, your chances of success improve. Whilst police departments offer academy training, some applicants are more desirable due to their maturity and past experiences.
  • Undertaking and passing medical and drugs tests. Prior to engagement, all successful applicants are required to undergo final medical examinations and testing for illicit drugs, along with a final security clearance.

Australia’s police forces are committed to recruiting individuals from all of the diverse groups that make up Australian society. Your gender, ethnicity, race, sexual preference or other differences do not place you at any disadvantage.

How to Join Australian Police Agencies – Where to Apply

Once you have decided to begin the application process with a specific police department, you can begin your application. Many police departments offer online applications, and most departments have personnel specifically dedicated to recruiting new members. You may pick up an application at a jobs or career event, or you may simply print it out at home.

Be sure you know when and where to turn in your application. Applications completed online may be submitted online; some departments may ask you to submit your application in person. Other departments may request candidates submit their application by mail. In any case, double-check the requirements for sending in your application since it’s the first step to your dream career.

How to Join Australian Police Agencies – Tips for Completing the Application Form

Before beginning, take the time to read each of the questions carefully. Make a list of materials you might need to complete some areas of the application, such as:

    • Your driving licence;
    • Your birth certificate or other citizenship documents;
    • Accurate information about previous employment dates and locations;
    • Accurate information regarding education, including locales and dates;
    • A list of trustworthy personal references including neighbours, friends, and relations.

The information different departments ask for varies. Before beginning, be sure you have everything you need. Being prepared before starting is just the first step to filling out an application that will appeal to the police staff assigned to accepting or rejecting candidates.

Additionally, make sure that your application is well-presented and easy to follow. The staff assigned to reviewing applications will appreciate it if yours is organised, and might make you a preferable candidate in the process.

How to Join Australian Police Agencies – Avoid Common Mistakes

There are a number of common mistakes people make when turning in police applications. Avoiding these mistakes can help make your application shine.

      • Don’t cross anything out, and do not scribble, either. This is why you should get at least two copies of the application; get at least one for practise, and complete a perfect copy to turn in. Writing your answers down on note paper before writing them properly on the application can help avoid this mistake.
      • Do not leave any spaces blank. If something does not apply to you, write “Not Applicable” or “N/A”.
      • If writing an application by hand, complete it neatly. Many police agencies have applicants complete forms by hand so that they can see how your handwriting looks. Do not write in script; write in print instead. Strive for a neat and consistent style.
      • If there are essay questions, be sure to think carefully before providing an answer. Some essay questions have more than one answer block to complete; reading the application before beginning can help you to complete each block correctly.
      • When completing applications online, be sure that you click all submission buttons carefully and ensure you save any confirmation information that pops up.
      • If mailing your application, ensure the envelope you use looks just as good as the application it contains.

How to Join Australian Police Agencies – Check Your Spelling and Punctuation

Proofreading work can often feel like a chore, and sometimes it can be painful to read over what you’ve written. However, it’s likely that you’ve probably made a mistake somewhere in your application, and proofreading your work will allow you to pinpoint any errors in your work.

Some of us just need a little extra help in the spelling and punctuation department. If you know for a fact that your writing skills are not quite up to par, consider taking a remedial course before you even apply to work with a police department. A big part of the job of police officer is to write detailed reports about incidents, accidents, and crimes. Spelling and punctuation are vital skills for success in fieldwork, just as they are for desk jobs.

If possible, give your application to a trusted friend or family member, and ask that person to look for errors. Often, a fresh pair of eyes can spot errors you’ve missed; having those eyes belong to a friend or relative is much better than allowing police personnel to find your mistakes. This way, you can spot and correct any errors or ambiguities in your application.

If you are filling out a physical application (i.e. on paper), then re-write the entire application if you find mistakes. The effort will pay off in the end. Remember to continue to focus on turning in a quality copy, even if you are writing information for a third or fourth time.

How to Join Australian Police Agencies – The Rest of the Selection Process

How to become a state police officer

Sadly, the application form is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the police officer recruitment process in Australia. The hardest is certainly yet to come. Namely, the series of tests, interviews, and fitness checks that you’ll be put through!

There are several tests police agencies use in Australia, which are used to assess applicants’ reading ability, writing ability, as well as their general mental aptitude. There will also be psychological evaluation tests to get a sense of how suitable your personality is for a life in the police service, based on how well you match up with the core competencies required for the role. For example, recruiters will be looking out for qualities such as integrity, leadership, decisiveness, stress management, compliance, problem solving, flexibility, communication skills and organisational awareness.

Depending on which agency you apply to, these tests will vary slightly. See below for a breakdown of police testing by State.

How to Join Australian Police Agencies – Testing by State

Australian Federal Police (AFP) Cognitive Ability Assessments:

        • Literacy Tests;
        • Verbal Reasoning Tests;
        • Numerical Reasoning Tests;
        • Abstract Reasoning Tests;
        • Spelling Tests.

New South Wales Police Force (NSW) Acer Exams:

        • Literacy Tests;
        • Summary Writing Tests;
        • Extended Writing Tests;
        • Spelling Tests;
        • Verbal Reasoning Tests;
        • Abstract Reasoning Tests.

Northern Territory Police (NT) Written Assessments:

        • Reading Tests;
        • Numerical Ability Tests;
        • Writing Ability Tests;
        • Problem-Solving Tests;
        • Spelling Tests.

Queensland Police (QLD) Initial Online Assessment and Entrance Exam:

        • Literacy Test;
        • Listening Test;
        • Spelling Test;
        • Cognitive Test.

South Australia Police (SA) Entrance Exam:

        • Reading Ability Tests;
        • Comprehension Tests;
        • Numerical Reasoning Tests;
        • Writing Ability Tests;
        • Spelling Tests.

Tasmania Police (TAS) Written Exam:

        • Reading Ability Test;
        • Numerical Reasoning Test;
        • Writing Ability Test;
        • Problem-Solving Test;
        • Job Suitability Test.

Victoria Police (VIC) Acer Exams:

        • Literacy Tests;
        • Writing Tests;
        • Verbal Reasoning Tests;
        • Abstract Reasoning Test;
        • Oral Assessments;
        • Computer Skills Test;
        • Spelling Tests.

Western Australia Police (WA) Police Entrance Exam (PEE):

        • Verbal Reasoning Test;
        • Abstract Reasoning Test;
        • Audio Assessments;
        • Audio/Visual Test;
        • Writing Skills Tests.

As you can see, there is a lot of overlap from state to state when it comes to testing. On top of this, every state will put you through fairly rigorous fitness tests. These are designed to test physical aptitude and agility. These tests are often as follows:

        • Body Fat Skin Fold Test;
        • Multi-Stage Aerobic Fitness Tests;
        • Sprints and Distance Runs;
        • Grip Strength, Pull-Ups, and Push-Ups;
        • Agility Test.

How to join Australian Police Agencies – Conclusion


So, there you have your breakdown of the selection process for police agencies in Australia. While it does not cover absolutely everything, it should give you an idea of how to go about taking the first steps on your journey to becoming a cop in whichever state you’re in. For more information on how to join Australian police agencies, follow this link. It will take you to our dedicated Australian site, where you can find many useful resources.

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2 thoughts on “Australian Police Recruitment – How To Join

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Kyle,

      The cognitive test format will depend on whom you are applying to. Let us know, and we’ll point you in the right direction!


      The How2Become Team

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