FAQ: Entry level (sworn) recruit roles

Requirements for joining the AFP

Recruitment process

Training at the AFP College

General enquiries

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.

Are there minimum education requirements for entry level sworn recruits?

The minimum education requirement is a Year 12 certificate (or equivalent) or Year 10 with a trade certificate or Year 10 with a Cert IV and/or equivalent. Tertiary qualifications are highly desirable. Preference will be given to candidates with Tertiary qualifications.

Do I have to have a driver's licence?

You need to hold a valid driver's licence; a minimum of provisional drivers licence at the time of application. Either a Manual or automatic transmission will be accepted.

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 an entry level 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.

Does the AFP place an emphasis on physical strength?

The key strengths required are intellect and good interpersonal skills. Intelligence, good communication and negotiation skills lessen the likelihood of conflict situations developing.

For entry level sworn recruits, there are minimum fitness standards that must be met as part of the recruitment process. It is expected that all applicants are physically fit and in excellent health when agreeing to participate through recruitment gateways. Recruit training can be physically demanding and it is important to note that the Entry Level Physical Competency Assessment (EPCA) is not an indication of the intensity of the fitness training recruits undergo whilst training. While the EPCA is the minimum fitness standard, the AFP will be expecting your level of fitness to be at a higher standard upon entering the College to ensure all participants are ready for the type of physical activities and training undertaken.

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 and unaided (but untimed) at the time of training and for the first six months of employment. These certificates will be requested later in the process, generally prior to the Recruit Applicant Validation Centre (RAVC) weekend.

First Aid

The AFP does not have a 'list of preferred suppliers' for the First Aid Certificate. We require a current First Aid Certificate including a CPR component which is generally obtainable from accredited training agencies (e.g. Red Cross or St. John Ambulance). In most cases, the attainment on the certificate should read HLTAID001 (Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation), HLTAID002 (Provide basic emergency life support) and HLTAID03 (Provide first aid).

Swim

The AFP Recruitment team will provide an AFP approved swim certificate template via email to applicants when the certificates are requested. The swim certificate may be witnessed and certified/signed by a lifeguard, an Austswim qualified swimming instructor or persons who hold a current bronze medallion certificate.

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. It is expected that you will be able to maintain this level of fitness as a lifestyle choice.

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

Applicants with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes will have to provide appropriate evidence that their diabetes is well controlled. Applicants with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes must demonstrate the following:

  • that they have not had a hypoglycaemic event in the last 12 months;
  • there is no evidence of organ damage; and
  • a HbA1c of eight or less over the last 12 months, tested on a case by case basis; four occasions at three months intervals.

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

Asthma will be assessed on a case by case basis. Further tests and specialist reports may be required.

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?

No, to be considered for entry level sworn recruitment you do not need prior policing paramilitary or military services experience. The AFP does recognise experience in other state police services, and applicants 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 a range of tertiary related qualifications.

I'm 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.

The AFP looks for a variety of traits when selecting employees. These include high levels of motivation, integrity, cultural awareness, commitment to working with the community, and a clean or minimal criminal and traffic history. The AFP also takes life experience and past ventures into account. We are looking for people who are physically fit and who value health and fitness as a lifestyle choice.

What can I do to prepare for the fitness test?

You can download the 6 week AFP Pre-course Fitness Program (PDF, 590KB) which is based on the fitness tests required and has been developed to help you prepare for the Pre-entry (EPCA), Physical Competency Assessment (PCA) and demands of the physical training during the College.

It is recommended this program is to be completed as prescribed under the guidance of a qualified trainer.

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 Liaison 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 aims to mirror the Australian community by employing people from a wide range of backgrounds. Currently, AFP staff can speak 94 different languages including sign language. Many internal networks exist to support employees from diverse backgrounds, including the Malunggang Indigenous Officers' Network.

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

The minimum education qualification is the completion of Year 12, Year 10 plus a trade certificate, or Year 10 plus a Cert IV. Although this is a minimum requirement, preference will be given to candidates with tertiary qualifications. We are particularly seeking qualifications in technical fields such as; Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law, National Security, Forensic Science, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, International Security, Information Technology (communications, software, and network specialist.  

I'm 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's 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 Revelian Cognitive Ability Test (RCAT)
  • undertaking a Entry Physical Competency Assessment (EPCA)
  • Successfully completing all components of the entre a security clearance, which may involve an interview
  • undertaking a medical examination and psychological assessment
  • undergoing a urinalysis for illicit drug use
  • attending the Recruit Applicant Validation Centre
  • attend training
  • finger printing

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 don't progress in my application as a result of the aptitude and psychological testing?

This simply means that you were not as competitive as other candidates. 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 will be conducted by a three or four person panel which will include at least one female panel member.

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 for both you and your partner (if applicable).

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), lateral transfer recruit from another police service (training depends on experience) or a PSO recruit (16 weeks).

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 at the AFP College during training.

Can my family stay with me while I'm 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.

General enquiries

What makes the AFP special?

The AFP is the only police service in Australia which offers work in community policing, as national investigators, in protective services and capacity building 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.
  • There may be opportunities for sworn police to 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 (PSOs) protect Commonwealth interests in Australia and overseas, including counter-terrorism first response at Australia's major airports. The International Deployment Group is a new approach to deploying personnel overseas for capacity building 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.

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.

What's the difference between sworn and professional roles?

Sworn members have certain police powers under the Australian Federal Police Act and have the ability to enforce the law.

Professional appointees of the AFP include those employees in non-policing and support roles. You can however be a sworn member working in a professional role.

What's 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. This means when a crime is committed in the ACT you are the first point of contact.

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's 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, once you have completed your recruitment course at the AFP College in Canberra you will become a Constable of Police and be deployed to one of five police stations to undertake General Duties. In ACT Policing there are options to specialise in areas such as community safety, family violence, drugs and organised crime, traffic operations, rural patrol and intelligence.

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 Offices (PSOs) provide a dedicated armed, uniformed protective security layer to detect, deter and respond to criminal and national security incidents at Australian government critical infrastructure and sites and interests in Australia and overseas.

I don't live in Canberra can I still apply for ACT Policing?

Yes. Applications are being sought from across Australia and encouraged from all states and territories. Successful applicants will be required to live at the AFP College in Canberra during the recruit training and expected to move to Canberra upon successful completion of this training.

Does ACT Policing allow for flexible working arrangements?

We are committed to providing a flexible work environment to meet the genuine operational requirements of the organisation and to accommodate, wherever possible, employee preferences to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Whilst our police recruits are deployed to roles with shift work requirements, there are a range of flexible work practice options available which may suit both the needs of the employee and the requirements of the workplace. These work practices include flexible working hours, compressed working hours and part time work.

What kind of people are ACT Policing looking for?

We recognise that diversity creates a stronger and more effective organisation. All employees bring a range of experience, knowledge and insight, which is why we focus on maintaining a diverse workforce which reflects the community we serve.

We are looking for a diverse group of men and women over the age of 18, from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures, and all walks of life that have a genuine interest in community policing.

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?

Entry level sworn recruits are paid the salary of a Band 2.3 while training at the AFP College. Entry level sworn PSO recruits are paid the salary of a Band 2.1 while training at the 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 three areas, Federal Policing, ACT Policing and PSOs. While many federal agents are plain clothes investigators, most members who work in ACT Policing and PSO's wear a uniform.

Does the AFP have graduate or trainee programs?

Yes, however these are professional (non-policing) roles within the organisation. Further information can be found at Professional roles.

Do I have a say in where I'm deployed/placed 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.

Entry level police recruits, will generally be deployed to ACT Policing, and  national aviation roles.  PSO's could be deployed to any region in Australia. While all candidates have an opportunity to specify where they would like to be located, deployment locations are determined based on operational requirements and the needs of the organisation at that time therefore while we endeavour to deploy you to your preferred location this cannot be guaranteed.

You are generally notified of your intended deployment location at the time of an offer for engagement being verbally presented. The AFP Commissioner has the power to assign police members at any time to any place considered appropriate for the AFP to perform its functions. If you are not interested in deployment at this time, you may want to consider deferring your application.

I have applied for base entry recruitment however I am only interested in a Federal Police Development Program (FPDP)

This recruitment process is highly competitive, while you may have a preference for a FPDP rather than PSOP, all applicants will be assessed and considered against both roles. Selections and offers will be made based on your individual performance as well as operational requirements and the needs of the organisation at that time. By applying for a base entry recruit position you understand that any offer you receive is based on operational requirements and the requirements of the organisation.    

Can I request feedback on my application if I am not successful?

Due to the volume of applications and the competitive nature of this bulk recruitment process, the feedback we are able to provide is limited. The AFP receives in excess of 3,000 applications for base entry recruitment intakes. There are limited placed available on scheduled gateways and ultimately courses and therefore not all applicants will be invited to attend gateways. We cannot disclose any information pertaining to our selection process.

Do Protective Service Officers carry guns?

Yes, Protective Service Officers along with Federal Agents and ACT Policing members are all required to carry firearms and other accoutrements while on duty.

Do Protective Service Officers perform shift work?

Yes, as a Protective Service Officer you will be required to work rotating shifts. The shift pattern may vary between each station but will involve nightshifts and weekends.

Do Protective Service Officers have police powers?

PSOs are sworn federal officers with limited powers under the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (the AFP Act) to provide law enforcement responses to protective service offences, as listed in the AFP Act, in the course of their shift.

National Security Hotline

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