Recruit training

AFP College

The AFP College is located in Barton, Canberra and is a registered training organisation under the Australian Skills Quality Authority.

Since the AFP's inception in 1979, the AFP College has been the training ground for all our recruits. It is a standard AFP requirement for all recruits to live at the AFP College during training, even if you live in Canberra.

Our instructors are a mix of sworn, unsworn and specialist members (i.e. fitness coach). Each has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. You are also required to participate in mandatory physical fitness training, commonly referred to as PT.

ACT Police Officer and National Recruit Training (Federal Police Development Program)

The Federal Police Development Program (FPDP) is for both ACT police and National entry level recruits. The initial program is approximately 24 weeks live-in at the AFP College in Canberra. Occasional weekend and evening work is required including exercises at the shooting range and night operational simulations.

The FPDP combines:

  • theory
  • practical application of knowledge
  • team projects
  • individual research
  • simulations
  • mandatory officer safety training
  • physical fitness training, commonly referred to as PT.

Training is competency based and involves regular feedback and assessment. Course modules include:

  • law
  • evidence
  • procedure
  • investigation techniques
  • police powers
  • the intelligence process
  • defensive skills
  • firearms
  • driver training.

At the successful completion of training, graduates are declared to be sworn members of the AFP or Constables of Police (thereby having police powers) and may be deployed to locations within the ACT or around Australia. On-the-job training follows formal training and is generally conducted over a 12 month period.

Protective Service Officer recruit training

Specific recruit training for Protective service officers (PSOs) is a 14 week live-in course at the AFP College in Canberra. Occasional weekend and evening work is required including exercises at the shooting range and night operational simulations.

Theoretical components deal with the law and the role of a PSO. Practical components include firearms training, defensive tactics (batons and handcuffs), crowd control (batons and shields) and team building exercises. The practical components of the course are physically based.

During the training, applicants will be required to obtain (and then maintain) the essential qualifications, skills and competencies required for the role of a PSO.

All components of the course are assessable. There are weekly theory tests and regular progressive review tests that assess your accumulated knowledge as the course progresses.

Many of the required skills and competencies have an inherent fitness element associated with meeting the performance standards. This means that for re-qualification purposes, officers are required to maintain a level of fitness appropriate to the skills and competencies of their particular station.

A person's performance in training is closely monitored. Unsatisfactory performance may result in the termination of employment.

Lateral recruit training (Federal Police Lateral Program)

The length of training for lateral transfer recruits depends on your contemporary policing and other related experience and skill levels. It may involve a six week live-in training program at the AFP College in Canberra or focused on-the-job training in the state of deployment.

Federal Police Lateral Programs are specifically designed for people with current policing experience from state or territory policing jurisdictions. Course content focuses on assisting recruits to adapt their existing knowledge of state legislation to the legislative framework used by the AFP.

Recruits receive instruction in relevant Commonwealth and ACT legislation, local practices, procedures and issues, and local criminal justice partners such as the courts and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

You will learn how the AFP's corporate infrastructure has moved away from a traditional, hierarchical policing model to flexible, multi-skilled and empowered teams operating in an environment of continuous learning and improvement.

An essential element of lateral courses is a skills audit to assess your firearms, officer safety and driving skills.


Upon successful completion of the training program, all recruits participate in an attestation ceremony in Canberra.

Officers recite the oath or affirmation of office before the Commissioner and their invited family and friends to lawfully formalise their status as Constables of Police or PSOs. It is at your attestation that you wear, for the first time, your full police uniform, and are provided with your warrant card (badge).

After completing a further 12 months of on-the-job training members deployed to ACT Policing and National roles will graduate with a Diploma of Public Safety (Policing).

Accommodation and facilities

College facilities include a lounge area which is used on a day-to-day basis for informal meetings and incorporates a coffee shop and bar, a dining room which serves three meals per day for members and recruits, and a fully-equipped gymnasium.

The AFP College has three courtyards used variously for physical training, inspection parades or outdoor dining and informal barbeques.

In addition to the training and computer rooms used for class-room based training, there is a theatrette which is used for lectures and presentations and syndicate rooms used for scenario and interview training.

The accommodation quarters include a king single bed, a computer with internet access and an ensuite bathroom.

The AFP Library is also located at the AFP College.

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Read the AFP Annual Report 2019-20

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