Protective Service Officer Program

A career, not just a job

Protective Service Officers (PSO) are employees of the AFP. They provide high visibility protective security services for Australian Commonwealth interests nationally and internationally.

As the global security environment has changed dramatically so has the role of the Protective Service Officer. Simply ‘guarding’ a building is not enough to deter and respond to security threats.

PSOs are law enforcement officials who exercise legal powers and are qualified to use force in the course of their protection duties.  They are stationed at key Commonwealth establishments including Parliament House, numerous Defence sites and also provide protective security to the diplomatic community.

The AFP is a dynamic working environment offering roles to enthusiastic, motivated and committed members of the community. As a PSO you will be required to undertake shiftwork.

You will perform a range of duties which may include:

  • maintaining the integrity and security of government-identified infrastructure
  • static protection duties for designated operations
  • high visibility vehicle, bike and foot patrols  
  • support roles for close personal protection
  • roles in the interest of national security
  • public order management duties in the Commonwealth interest.

Increasingly, PSOs are being deployed to support national investigation resolutions as part of a wider AFP team.

You will require excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to work with a broad spectrum of the community. As a PSO you will need to be vigilant and dynamic to respond to incidents.

Protective Service Officer with Canine

The AFP takes the safety of its personnel seriously and you will be equipped with conducted energy weapon, firearm, a ballistic and spike rated vest and other personal protection items to effectively perform your duties.

Career development

As a new recruit, you will undergo an intensive residential 14 week training program in Canberra, which combines theory, practical application of knowledge, officer safety training, simulations and physical fitness training.

During the training, you will be required to obtain and maintain the essential qualifications, skills and competencies required for the role of a Protective Service Officer.

You will be trained in the latest officer safety tactics, advanced driver training, how to identify, assess and engage threats, legal powers and their application.

You will be trained in the use of firearms including light support weapons, commonly referred to as long arms.

The AFP is a progressive law enforcement agency which provides varied opportunities to expand and develop your career.

After completing probation you may apply for specialist roles such as:

  • remotely piloted aircraft operator
  • bomb appraisal officer
  • firearms explosive detection canine handler
  • close personal protection
  • Protection Operations information assessment teams.

These positions involve a rigorous selection process and intensive training programs.

You may also choose to apply to transition to ACT Policing or national investigations as courses are advertised internally.

Read more on your job as a Protective Service Officer.

More information

Phone: (02) 5127 2555, 8:00am – 4:00pm

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2019-20

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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