FAQs - Sworn roles

If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact AFP Recruitment.

Requirements for joining the AFP

What age do I need to be to apply?

You must be over the age of 18 to be considered for a career with the AFP. There is no upper age limit providing you are fit and able to perform policing duties.

Do the AFP and ACT Policing have minimum education requirements for recruits?

The minimum education requirement is Year 12 certificate (or equivalent) or Year 10 with a trade certificate or similar experience. Certificate IV will also be considered on a case-by-case basis. Tertiary qualifications are desirable but not essential.

Do I have to have a driver's licence?

You need to hold a valid manual driver's licence (with no provisional restrictions) at the time of application.

Where can I get a copy of my driving history?

As part of the recruitment process, the AFP Recruitment team will ask for a copy of your current and full driving history. This document can be obtained from your local motor registry office in your state. The AFP is unable to access any of this information on your behalf.

Do I need to meet a particular medical standard to be a police recruit?

Yes, we do have medical and psychological standards which you will need to meet and maintain before you can be considered for AFP sworn recruit or protective service officer training. More information on these standards can be found at AFP Officer Gateways – Gateway 5.

If you have a specific medical condition that you are concerned may preclude you from joining, please contact us. Please ensure you provide us with information detailing your condition so that we may provide you with the most accurate advice for your particular circumstances.

Do I have to be a minimum height to join?

There are no height restrictions. As long as you are fit and healthy, we recruit people of all shapes and sizes.

Does the AFP place an emphasis on physical strength?

The key strengths required are intellect and good interpersonal skills. Upper body strength is required in a few instances. Intelligence, good communication and negotiation skills lessen the likelihood of conflict situations developing. For police recruits, there are minimum fitness standards that must be met as part of the recruitment process.

How current should my first aid and swimming skills be?

Police recruits need a current first aid certificate and confirmation of ability to swim 100 metres freestyle non-stop at the time of training and for the first six months of employment.

What level of physical fitness is required?

The Entry Physical Competency Assessment will determine your level of physical fitness and these results will form part of the application process and medical material about your general level of health and fitness.

If I have diabetes, will this preclude me from applying?

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes may result in a person not being able to meet the inherent requirements of an operational policing role. However, advice on whether an applicant will meet the inherent requirements of an operational policing role cannot be provided until the applicant has undergone an individual medical assessment, specialist reports provided (where necessary) and all the information is reviewed.

If I have asthma, will this preclude me from applying?

Asthma will generally not exclude you from joining the AFP for training as a recruit, or being a sworn member. However, asthma treated with long term steroid treatment may not be compatible with the role of operational policing and will be assessed on an individual basis.

There may be restrictions on filling certain roles operational roles or overseas deployment.

Depending on the severity of your asthma, you will need to provide a report from you general practitioner or specialist. The type of information required will be discussed at the AFP assessment centre.

Do I have to be an Australian citizen to join the AFP?

Yes, it is a minimum requirement at the time of application that you are an Australian citizen.

Do I need to have experience in state policing, paramilitary or military services to join the AFP?

The AFP does recognise experience in other police services, and candidates with such experience may be eligible for entry under the lateral transfer recruit program. However, the AFP equally values people with varied life experiences, including many who have tertiary qualifications.

I am still at school and considering a future in the AFP. Are there any subjects/curriculum favoured that would enhance my chances for employment?

There are no particular preferred subjects. The AFP is interested in good results and a capacity to think critically. Selection for a role with the AFP is highly competitive. We look for sound academic performance and encourage you to pursue subjects you are interested in which develop your thinking skills. Good results in these areas will indicate how well you are likely to do with police training requirements. We also like to see significant life experience and relevant skills and training.

What can I do to prepare for the fitness test?

These exercise programs are based on the fitness tests conducted and have been developed to help you prepare for the Pre-entry Physical Competency Assessment:

Will my sexual orientation prohibit me from joining the AFP?

The AFP believes that sexual orientation does not affect an individual's ability to do the job. The Gay and Lesbian Officer Network provides support to its members and also advises management on strategies and initiatives for managing relationships with the gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and intersexual communities.

Does the AFP employ people from non-English speaking backgrounds or from different ethnic groups?

Yes. The AFP mirrors the Australian community by employing people from a wide diversity of backgrounds. Currently, AFP staff speak 59 different languages including sign language. Many internal networks, such as the Malunggang Indigenous Officer Network, exist to support staff.

Does the AFP prefer people with degrees and particular types of degrees?

Tertiary qualifications are desirable but not essential. The minimum educational qualification is the completion of Year 12, or Year 10 plus a trade certificate. Tertiary qualifications may add to your competitiveness and wherever possible, the AFP seeks to recruit graduates from a wide range of disciplines, not limited to law/justice/criminology studies.

I am on prescribed psychotropic medication (includes, but not limited to, anti-psychotic, anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication), will this preclude me from applying?

Yes, it will in the short to medium term, depending on the length of time you have been taking that medication. You will need to demonstrate full psychological resilience without the aid of psychotropic medication. For more information on use of psychotropic medication and AFP requirements for sworn recruiting, please see Medical and Psychological Assessment Gateway.

Recruitment process

What is the process to become a police officer/recruit?

Our recruitment process is designed to ensure applicants meet entry level requirements (minimum requirements) and have the values and skills to meet the challenges and demands of policing.

This process involves:

  • submitting an online application and supporting documentation
  • completing an Employment Suitability Questionnaire
  • meeting the minimum requirements
  • meeting required benchmarks in the Online Cognitive Ability Test (OCAT)
  • undertaking a Pre-entry Physical Competency Assessment (PCA)
  • attending an assessment centre (including an interview conducted by a panel, a group activity, a literacy exercise and an OCAT validation)
  • a security clearance, which may involve an interview and finger printing
  • undertaking a medical examination and psychological assessment
  • undergoing a urinalysis for illicit drug use
  • attending the Recruit Applicant Validation Centre
  • attending training (24 week live-in program at the AFP College, Canberra).

What does the aptitude and psychological testing involve?

The aptitude tests are designed to measure your ability to understand verbal, numerical and abstract relationships. Applicants have a set period of time in which to complete these tests online.
Examples of aptitude questions include:

  • Find the missing number in the following sequence - 1, 5, 9, 13, 21
    (Answer: 17)
  • Find the missing number in the following sequence - 2, 5, 10, 17
    (Answer: 26 - each number from 1 to 5 is first squared and then 1 is added)
  • Which four of the following words are alike in some way? 1. Behind, 2. Premature, 3. Late, 4. Early, 5. Tardy, 6. Slow
    (Answer: 1, 3, 5 and 6)
  • Book is to read as car is to…? 1. Travel, 2. Distance, 3. Drive, 4. Speed
    (Answer: 3).

The psychological assessment consists of a candidate undertaking psychometric assessments and completing a face-to-face interview with a psychologist to determine a candidate's psychological readiness to join the AFP.

Where can I find information about aptitude testing or extra examples?

Information and further examples of general aptitude testing (not specifically the ones used by AFP) might be found in your local library or at a large bookshop. Technical information about aptitude and psychological testing can be found in university libraries. You may also find information on the Internet if you conduct a search using terms like 'psychometric testing' or 'aptitude testing'.

What does it mean if I do not progress in my application as a result of the aptitude and psychological testing?

This simply means that you have not met the minimum AFP specific testing requirements. No other conclusions are drawn.

What does an AFP recruitment interview involve?

An AFP recruitment interview is similar to any other professional job interview situation. You should, for example, come dressed for a job interview and arrive at least 15 minutes early. Prepare yourself for the interview by conducting research as necessary and anticipating answers to questions regarding your capabilities, integrity, interests and personal history.

If there are large numbers to be interviewed, you should be prepared to be available throughout the day. The interview can be conducted by a two or three-person panel which will include at least one female panel member for female applicants. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders may elect to have a friend attend the interview process to assist.

What is involved in the security clearance process?

Applicants for the AFP should be aware that the security clearance process can be intrusive in nature and includes (but is not limited to) detailed background, character, employment, police and financial checks.

Training at the AFP College

How long does recruit training take?

The length of training programs varies depending on whether you are a police recruit (24 week Federal Police Development Program) or a lateral transfer recruit from another police service (training depends on experience).

What will I learn at the AFP College?

Police recruits at the AFP College undertake the Diploma of Public Safety (Policing). This Diploma is a combination of 14 competencies designed to give you the underpinning knowledge and the technical skills to perform the functions of a police officer.

You will achieve a high level of theoretical knowledge and will be required to demonstrate the practical application of that knowledge by performing the functions of a police officer serving in the community. After completing your training and demonstrating the appropriate competencies in the workplace, you will be sworn in as a Constable of the AFP and receive a Diploma of Public Safety (Policing).

Is the AFP College affiliated with a university?

The AFP College is a Registered Training Organisation; however it is not affiliated with any university.

If I live in Canberra, do I have to live at the AFP College during training?

Yes. It is a standard requirement for recruits to live-in at the AFP College during training.

Can my family stay with me while I am at the AFP College?

Due to the single accommodation arrangements at the AFP College family cannot accompany you. You may choose to organise other nearby accommodation for your family at your own expense.

Working in ACT Policing

Do I have a say in where I am deployed in the ACT after recruit training?

You can provide your preference about where you'd like to be deployed. However, you need to be conscious of the fact that placements are dependent on operational requirements and you may be moved at any time.

Is ACT Policing an independent police service in its own right?

ACT Policing is the community policing arm of the AFP. We deliver policing services to the Australian Capital Territory through a policing arrangement between the ACT and Commonwealth Governments.

This arrangement is of great benefit to the ACT and the AFP, as we can multi-skill our members and provide them with greater career opportunities, training and exposure to local, national and international law enforcement.

General enquiries

What makes the AFP special?

The AFP is the only police service in Australia which offers work in community policing, as federal agents, in protective services and peacekeeping missions overseas. The AFP also offers work in non-policing roles.

  • The AFP's community police protect the national capital, which involves an exciting mix of issues and challenges. They are the first point of contact when a local crime is committed.
  • Federal agents operate in state and territory capital cities and as liaison officers in countries around the world. They focus on national and international crime. Federal agents also serve as peacekeepers for the United Nations.
  • All AFP sworn police can move from community policing roles to federal agent roles and vice-versa.
  • Federal agents provide protection within Australia and overseas to designated Australian and foreign dignitaries, internationally protected persons and visiting foreign dignitaries.
  • Protective service officers provide security at Commonwealth establishments and diplomatic missions in Australia and overseas. They also provide security services and training to government agencies.
  • The International Deployment Group is a new approach to deploying personnel overseas for peacekeeping and capacity building missions. You will gain exposure to policing issues and situations not normally encountered in Australia.
  • The AFP has many non-policing roles which support policing operations. These range from forensics, legal, intelligence and marketing to IT and business support. Whatever role interests you, you will be assisting the AFP to combat crime.

What is the difference between AFP and state police?

State police enforce laws within their state and are covered under state legislation. The AFP investigates and prevents crimes against the Commonwealth — work that often extends beyond state and national borders and protects Commonwealth interests in Australia and overseas. The AFP also provides community policing services to the ACT community under contract with the ACT Government.

What is the difference between sworn and unsworn police roles?

Sworn members (after successful completion of the Federal Police Development Program) have certain police powers under the Australian Federal Police Act and have the ability to enforce the law.

Unsworn members of the AFP include those employees in non-policing and support roles. You can however be a sworn member working in an unsworn role.

What is the difference between ACT Policing and AFP?

ACT Policing is the community policing arm of the AFP and enforces the law within the Australian Capital Territory under territory (and where relevant Commonwealth) legislation.

The AFP investigates and prevents crimes against the Commonwealth, work that often extends beyond State/Territory and national borders, and protects Commonwealth interests in Australia and overseas.

What is the difference between ACT Policing (community policing), Federal Agents and Protective Service Officers?

ACT Policing recruits begin their career as a community police officer in Canberra, initially undertaking General Duties as a Probationary Constable. This may involve patrols and attending disputes, motor vehicle collisions, natural disasters, homicides and securing major events.

Federal agents prevent and detect crimes against Commonwealth law, many of which extend beyond State/Territory and national borders. Examples include terrorism, organised crime and people smuggling.

Protective service officers protect Commonwealth interests in Australia and overseas, including counter-terrorism first response at Australia's major airports.

Protective service officers are employees of the AFP who provide protection for various Commonwealth interests nationally and internationally.

If I join the AFP am I likely to be seriously injured?

Recent statistics show that policing in Australia has a lower incidence of workplace injuries than occupations such as farming and nursing.

Policing is of course a more dangerous career than some other options, however we ensure you are trained appropriately to deal with such situations.

I have a security clearance from another department/organisation. Will this assist me with my application?

The AFP will still conduct its own security checks, however if you are able to provide the relevant details/documentation, please do so.

What do I get paid as a recruit?

Base level recruits are paid $54,755 per annum while training at the AFP College. Details about pay, the AFP's generous leave entitlements and other conditions can be found at pay and conditions.

Do all AFP members wear police uniforms?

The AFP's sworn responsibilities fall into two areas, federal policing (70 per cent of sworn members) and ACT Policing (30 per cent). While many federal agents are plain clothes investigators, most members who work in ACT Policing wear a uniform.

Does the AFP have graduate or trainee programs?

The AFP's Graduate Program currently involves a 12-month comprehensive training and development program in three varied work rotations, with a dedicated mentor to provide assistance and support. You can build your career at the local, national or international level with non-policing roles ranging from intelligence analysts and forensic investigators through to jobs in information technology, legal, training, marketing and communications and administrative support. To join the AFP graduate program, you must be an Australian citizen and have completed a three-year bachelor degree.

Do I have a say in where I am deployed after recruit training?

The AFP recruits nationally and deploys staff around Australia in response to operational requirements. This means we target recruitment campaigns to respond to emerging needs. Recruitment campaigns may be for deployment to any area of the AFP or to specific areas of operations. If you are not interested in deployment to areas notified by a particular recruitment campaign, consider deferring your application to a future recruitment intake. All police recruits need to be conscious of the fact that the Commissioner has the power to assign police members at any time to any place he considers appropriate for the performance of the AFP's functions. You can check regularly for new campaigns and deployment opportunities by adding the AFP website to your 'favourites'.

What is the AFP's International Deployment Group?

The AFP's international deployments contribute to regional and international stability and security on behalf of the Australian Government through contributing to offshore law enforcement initiatives and participating in capacity development programs within the law and justice sector.

The International Deployment Group (IDG) has been formed to manage the deployment of Australian and Pacific Island police offshore to:

  • multilateral law enforcement capacity building missions
  • bilateral law enforcement capacity building programs under the auspices of the Law Enforcement Cooperation Program
  • international monitoring missions
  • international peacekeeping missions as civilian police with the United Nations.

Missions include locations ranging from East Timor to Sudan. The IDG consists of police and non-policing personnel as well as police officers from the state and territory police services, and from the countries of 12 Pacific Islands. It provides a unique opportunity for personnel to participate in extraordinary, challenging and rewarding work.

While the police role varies, each mission is essentially about upholding the law and people's rights as well as resolving incidents with minimum force. It has also included mentoring local police. More information and other FAQs are available in the section about the International Deployment Group.