What does a General Duties Police Officer do?
General Duty Police Officers are rostered on day, afternoon or night shifts to respond to the needs of the Victorian community.
Duties are varied and you will come into contact with people from all walks of life, some of whom will display values and behaviours that contradict your own. However, as a Police Officer you are required to remain impartial. Some of the duties you will be required to undertake include:
- prevent anti-social behaviour
- deal with community safety concerns
- resolve disputes
- attend accidents
- investigate crime
- enforce traffic law
- deal with drug and alcohol affected people
- attend critical incidents and emergencies
You are required to submit paperwork on most incidents you attend, including keeping a running sheet which is an on-going diary of the duties you perform during each shift. You will also be required to prepare paperwork for court, attend hearings and give evidence.
While the role of a Police Officer is challenging, it is also rewarding. As a Police Officer you will make a difference to the Victorian community every day.
Spotlight on Police Officer Courtney Clarkson
Police – about the role
Your journey to becoming part of Victoria Police begins at the Victoria Police Academy, Glen Waverley. While you will be paid from day one of your training, you will need dedication and commitment to succeed in a structured training environment.
All Police Officers start their career with 31 weeks of training at the Victoria Police Academy.
What to expect
All Police Officers start their careers by undertaking a structured 31-week training program at the Victoria Police Academy. We believe reward comes from effort, the training you will undertake is comprehensive and both physically and academically challenging. You may need to undertake additional study in the evenings and maintain your fitness outside of class times.
You can expect this to be an intense and demanding period of your life therefore during this time support from family and friends is important; they need to understand the demands that will be placed on your time during this period.
Your experience at the Academy will expose you to learning from specialist lecturers, reality-based training, simulations, eLearning, practical scenarios, case studies and problem-based learning to develop into a operationally ready first responder with Victoria Police.
The usual training hours at the Academy are:
- 7.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday
These hours may be subject to variations including, but not limited to:
- Police Graduation Days 7.00am to 2.20pm (every second Thursday)
- Afternoon shifts - Weeks 18, 20 and 24 1:20pm to 8:40pm (subject to time variations)
- 'On the job' Dedicated Training Workplace field placements (weeks 13, 21, 22, 23, 28). Hours are subject to work location rostering
For these shift variations, Police recruits who have carer or other responsibilities may need to secure additional support as required.
Structure of the Police Foundation Training Program
Your initial training with Victoria Police is undertaken within the first 116 weeks of your employment. The structure of that training is:
Your first week at the Academy will be an induction week which is dedicated to introducing recruits to the Victoria Police and Academy environments. Recruits will be familiarised with the values, ethics, roles and responsibilities of being a member of Victoria Police.
Weeks 2 to 12
Your training will consist of subjects including (but not limited to):
- communication skills
- operational safety tactics (including firearms)
- family violence response
- community engagement
After successful completion of all Week 1 to 12 assessment requirements you will be sworn in as a Constable of Police at the end of week 12. At this time, you will be enrolled in to POL50118 Diploma of Policing; this qualification is issued by Victoria Police Registered Training Organisation RTOID:4578.
Weeks 13 and 14
One week of Dedicated Training Workplace field placement.
This 'on the job' experience will allow you to participate in the day to day business of police station duties including assisting the community at the police station counter.
One week of recreational leave
Weeks 15 to 20
Your training continues at the Academy, where you will build on your existing knowledge and skills that enhance your ability to perform the role of a Police Officer.
Weeks 21, 22 and 23
Two weeks of Dedicated Training Workplace field placement.
This ‘on the job’ experience will provide exposure to public order response, attendance at demonstrations, sporting events and provide opportunities to engage with the community.
One week of recreational leave.
Weeks 24 to 27
Your training continues at the Academy, where you will build on your existing knowledge and skills that enhance your ability to perform the role of a Police officer.
One week of Dedicated Training Workplace field placement.
During this ‘on the job’ training you will be exposed to working as a first responder to police incidents and emergencies and be immersed in the roles and responsibilities of a general duties Police Officer
Weeks 29 to 31
These are the final stages of your Academy based training. In this time, you will consolidate your existing knowledge and skills that enhance your ability to perform the role of a Police officer.
After successful completion of all assessment requirements from week 1 to 31, you will march out from the Victoria Police Academy in a formal graduation ceremony.
Weeks 32 to 52
Your ‘on the job’ learning experience continues with post Academy placements including; performing duties at a police station as a first responder, with Victoria Police Highway Patrols and Road Policing, Drug and Alcohol Section.
Weeks 53 to 116
You will be deployed to a permanent training station where you will perform the role of a general duties Police Officer. Through this period your skills and knowledge will be enriched through completion of ‘on the job’ tasks and driver training.
At the end of this period, if you have completed all of the requirements for the Diploma of Policing, you are confirmed in your role as a Police Constable and receive your Diploma.
This initial training is just the beginning; as a Victoria Police member you will continue to undergo job-specific training throughout your career.
Upon appointment to Victoria Police, you may be deployed to any location within the state as determined by operational needs.
Victoria Police offers a challenging and rewarding career serving the Victorian community. As an employee of Victoria Police you will be entrusted with considerable authority and responsibility. To ensure all employees use this authority professionally, fairly, with accountability and with the highest level of integrity, you will be subject to legislation and policy requirements that prescribe expected standards of behaviour. It is important that you understand how this will impact on your personal and professional life prior to committing to the application process.
The Victoria Police Act 2013 imposes a duty on all employees to be of good behaviour, not only while on duty, but at all other times. Actions committed during your personal time may affect your ongoing employment and see you face internal discipline or criminal proceedings.
Your conduct, both on and off duty, reflects on yourself and on Victoria Police. This behaviour must be of a high standard and demonstrate the values of Victoria Police. The following Organisational Values underpin Victoria Police's policies, procedures and practices, and provide guidance on how employees are to interact with the community and each other.
- focused on the health, safety and wellbeing of our people
- act with honesty, respecting the right of fair process for all
- maintain confidentiality and respect those we deal with
- demonstrate moral strength and courage and behave with honour and impartiality
- are approachable and consistent when dealing with colleagues, partners and the community – and apply fair process
- strongly commit to the values of the organisation and make timely decisions guided by values and evidence
- guide, trust, develop and empower colleagues and inspire participation and commitment through a shared vision
- be open minded and adaptive to change
- adopt an attitude of continuous improvement
- encourage creativity and welcome differences
- build partnerships with our community and practice tolerance
- accept diversity with tolerance and understanding
- listen with patience, value opinions and provide feedback and appreciative of and acknowledge the efforts of others
- inspire confidence through ethical and fair treatment of others ensuring that our actions are not unlawfully discriminatory
- recognise and reward service and care for the wellbeing of employees
- provide empathy in a timely and genuine manner
- promote professional and career development
- accept responsibility, show commitment and lead by example
- achieve and contribute to the professional knowledge pool
- are accountable to both our internal and external customers
- maintain high personal standards, taking pride in our appearance and conduct
- communicate openly, honestly and consistently
- are transparent in our delivery and strive for service excellence
You should familiarise yourself with the Victoria Police Code of Conduct – Professional and Ethical Standards, and other integrity related polices to ensure you understand the required standard of behaviour. Download the code of conduct:
The Code of Conduct will give potential employees an understanding of how to identify situations and associations which may lead to inappropriate perceptions or conflicts of interest.
During the application process and your period of employment with Victoria Police, you will be tested for drugs and alcohol. You must be completely sober while on duty, or required to be available for duty.
You also must be free of illegal drugs at all times, both on and off duty. If you are taking any prescribed medications, you must ensure that these are disclosed in your application's medical report.
As a Police Officer, you must adhere to a uniform and appearance policy, which encompasses maintaining a neat and tidy appearance. These standards apply for health and safety reasons and because members, particularly in uniform, are contributing to the image of Victoria Police and its reputation as a professional and disciplined organisation.
Hair is to be clean, tidy and neatly trimmed. Members may seek an exemption to the authorised uniform and appearance standards based on genuine medical, cultural or religious grounds, which will need to be applied for prior to being inducted into the Victoria Police Academy.
As a Probationary Constable you may be subject to a ballot process. As part of the ballot process, employees of Victoria Police may be directed to transfer to a police station anywhere in Victoria. The ballot process exists to alleviate critical staffing needs at identified regional and metropolitan stations. Most members who undertake regional work early in their career find the experience invaluable and rewarding.
The ballot occurs on confirmation to the rank of Constable, at two years' service. If selected during the ballot process you will be required to remain at the location for a minimum of 18 months. If you volunteer to fill a balloted position, you will receive priority for your preferred location upon completion. Therefore, you'll need to be prepared to relocate in the early stages of your career.
Victoria Police employees must gain approval from the Chief Commissioner to hold a secondary job. Approval will not be granted where the employment conflicts with your role as a Victoria Police employee.
As a recruit you will earn $50,834 per annum, during the first 12 weeks of training at the Academy.
After you are sworn in at the end of week 12 as a Probationary Constable, you will earn $69,836 as you continue training for a further 19 weeks, both at the Academy and on the job at a police station. Additional shift penalties and overtime payments will apply.
After that, your salary progression is based on a yearly performance development assessment as per the Victoria Police Force Enterprise Agreement 2015.
As a sworn member of Victoria Police, you will be entitled to seven weeks' recreation leave per year. You will accrue an additional 10 days' leave a year because you will work a 40 hour week but be paid for 38 hours.
Along with recreation leave, Police Officers are entitled to 15 days of sick leave per year and a range of other leave entitlements, including maternity and paternity leave, study leave and long-service leave of three months on full-pay, or six months on half-pay after 10 years of service. It is possible to access your accrued long service leave on a pro-rata basis after seven years of service.
The majority of Victoria Police members work as General Duties Police Officers across the state. However, there are also many specialist roles available that require further training and a minimum of two to four years of general duties operational experience as a pre-requisite.
Some of the specialist units include:
The role of the detective includes preventing, detecting and investigating crime.
Detectives apprehend, charge and give evidence against persons believed to have committed offences. They take reports and statements from victims of and witnesses to crime. They take control of crime scenes and coordinate staff, resources and specialist groups in the investigation of complex matters.
Detectives can specialise in various areas including Crime Command, Crime Investigation Units, Sexual Offence and Child Abuse Investigation Teams, Major Collision Investigation Group, Homicide, Organised Crime and Family Violence units.
The detective pathway can commence three years from the date of your graduation as a Police recruit.
Police Prosecutors conduct legal research and present cases on behalf of Victoria Police and victims in the Magistrates', Children's and Coroners Courts. After completing the probationary period as Constable (two Years) you will be eligible to apply for the Prosecutors Training Course.
The course is 15 weeks in duration comprised of online, classroom and workplace training. Successful completion of the Prosecutors Training Course can lead to accreditation in the Graduate Certificate in Police Prosecution and gives credit towards subjects in a Law Degree through Victoria University, Deakin University and the University of New England.
At Victoria Police, vacancies in the Dog Squad are highly contested. Police Dogs are an important part of police operations due to their natural abilities to track people, detect narcotics, explosives or property and access places a Police Member cannot.
A member of the Dog Squad is assigned a Police Dog who lives at home with them and is their permanent partner to combat crime. Dog Squad Officers also train, care for and work with their Police Dog to assist in police operations.
Crime Scene Officers
Crime Scene Officers (CSOs) collect evidence from crime scenes to assist the investigation of volume crime. CSOs take photographs of the scene, write reports, search for fingerprints, examine other sources of evidence and speak to victims, neighbours and other possible witnesses.
CSOs are often the first Victoria Police point of contact that a victim may have, so it's important that they can provide professional service and empathise with the victim who is likely to be highly distressed.
Highway Patrol's role is to enhance road safety and thereby help to reduce the incidence of road trauma. They are a team of road policing experts who work across the state patrolling freeways, highways and local roads.
Highway Patrol members proactively provide a visible police presence targeting dangerous and speeding motorists. They attend and investigate collisions, conduct road safety operations, work with Booze Bus units and impound vehicles. In addition they run specific projects to ensure heavy vehicles comply with regulations.
Based in Williamstown, the Water Police work around the clock to provide security to the four ports of Melbourne, Portland, Geelong and Hastings, and respond to search and rescue operations state-wide. Included in their patrols are the inland waterways within Victoria such as Lake Eildon, Yarrawonga and Lake Eppalock.
The Water Police coordinate all on-water searches and the rescue of vessels and people in distress. Water Police investigate incidents and collisions that occur in the water and prepare inquest briefs. Work as a Water Police member heats up in the summer months as they police the ports 24 hours a day, ensuring that boat drivers obey speed limits and have appropriate licenses and safety equipment.
Search and Rescue
The Search and Rescue Squad provides specialist expertise, advice and practical assistance in search and rescue situations, both on land and in underwater environments.
Search and Rescue Police are trained to locate people missing in remote and difficult areas, including the bush, snow, mountains, coastal and inland waterways, and vertical cliffs. They also dive under water to search for and recover stolen property, weapons, evidence, vehicles and other objects.
The role of the Mounted Branch is to provide a state-wide response in support of operational police across Victoria at events requiring crowd control, such as protests or marches needing public order management, land searches and ceremonial duties.
The Mounted Branch provides a visible police presence in high-crime-rate areas and ceremonial escorts for the Governor-General, the Victorian Governor, visiting royalty, police funerals and parades.
Public Order Response Team
The Public Order Response Team (PORT) is designed to provide a rapid response to public order incidents. The primary objective of PORT is to restore and maintain public order in volatile and/or hostile crowd environments and certain emergency management situations.
Members are trained in specific tactics to deal with public order and riot situations that occur across Victoria.
Operational Response Unit
The Operations Response Unit (ORU) is a highly visible and trained response team tasked to tackle high-priority public safety, road policing and crime issues across the state.
The ORU has the capacity to provide rapid and ready response to major incidents and disasters at short notice. ORU members are trained as necessary to tackle issues such as CBD violence, rural traffic issues, weapons searches and crime or drug operations.
Critical Incident Response Unit
The Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) provide a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week response to incidents that are beyond the scope, experience and skill level of General Duties Police but do not meet the criteria of the Special Operations Group. CIRT also includes a negotiator capability.
Special Operations Group
The Special Operations Group (SOG) provides the Victorian community with an armed-offender and counter-terrorist-response capacity. The SOG responds to unplanned operational critical incidents such as sieges and siege-hostage situations, armed-offender tasks and bomb-response incidents.
The squad also assists other police units in planned operations involving apprehension of dangerous suspects. The SOG is highly trained in anti-terrorism tactics, building-entry skills and conducting high-risk searches.
Interview with Detective Sergeant Samantha Ryan, Family Violence Command Taskforce Unit
What made you apply for Victoria Police?
I had been contemplating the Defence Force, but then I studied criminology at University and this led to a fascination into the causes and social impacts of crime. I made a spontaneous decision to join the police force and haven't looked back since.
Where do you currently work for and give us a 'day in the life' of the role?
I currently work at the newly established Family Violence Command Taskforce, which I'm really proud of. I chose this role because I'm excited about the direction that Victoria Police is headed in its battle to prevent violence against women and children. There are different facets to my role here, so I don't really have a routine day as such. I manage a small team of detectives and it's my job to encourage, mentor and develop these members.
I am also responsible for overseeing complex and challenging investigations into high-risk perpetrators of serious family violence. I have a really enthusiastic, self-driven team, which means I can focus on other areas such as building relationships with external agencies within the Family Violence sector.
This is crucial to ensure a victim-centric approach in our investigations and to drive reform in the way we police family violence. It's a really exciting time to be at the Family Violence Command with the findings from the Royal Commission about to be handed down, and it's a role where I feel that we really can make a difference.
Did you work for any other units within Victoria Police before your current role?
I did uniform duties for about six years, mostly at South Melbourne. Then I worked at the Regional Response Unit, where we conducted plain-clothed proactive investigations, mainly drug related. I was always crime-orientated, and after performing temporary CIU duties at South Melbourne and St Kilda I got a detective position at Broadmeadows CIU. I worked there for about four years and then went to Footscray Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT).
I then got promoted to sergeant at Transit where I was mostly responsible for supervising PSO's. From there I was seconded to Taskforce SALUS, which investigates sexual harassment, discrimination and predatory behaviour by Victoria Police employees.
Best day on the job?
I can't think of one particular day that I would describe as my best day on the job. I have lots of memories of what I considered to be good arrests. Foot and vehicle (and even bicycle) pursuits are always memorable. Certain investigation break-throughs and good wins at court stick in my mind.
My graduation from the academy, and being selected for jobs or promotions along the way, are some of my best days. I've been formally recognised for some achievements during my career, which is always a fantastic feeling.
But I think when I look back on my career my fondest memories will be of the people I have worked with. There are some fantastic people in this organisation, which is why I still enjoy coming to work each day.
What advice would you give those about to be inducted into the Academy for their training?
Listen, learn, study hard and enjoy it! You'll look back on this as a really exciting time in your life.
Did you require any specific qualifications or additional training for your current role?
I've had to complete a number of internal Victoria Police courses to become a Detective Sargeant including the Field Investigators Course and Detective Training School. I also did the SOCIT course, which is specialised training aimed at better educating us about sexual offending, improving our response to victims, and expanding our investigative and interviewing techniques. I've also had to do management courses as part of the promotional process.
Where do you see yourself in five years' time – still working for Victoria Police and if so, in what capacity or unit?
I'll definitely still be with Victoria Police five years from now. I've never once considered leaving the job since joining 17 years ago, and I'll probably stay a police officer until I retire. There are so many different career paths within Victoria Police – it's just a matter of finding your niche. And if you're lucky you'll find a number of different roles that you enjoy.
It would have to be an incredibly enticing opportunity to lure me away or a big lotto win! I love my current role, but I can probably see myself back in uniform as a senior sergeant in five years' time.
What advice would you give others who are considering a career with Victoria Police?
I would highly recommend a career with Victoria Police to anyone. It can be a stressful career and you will be challenged, but there are so many great moments, and so much variety in the work we do, and you'll form life-long friendships along the way.
And whilst you certainly can't change the world, as I naively thought when I joined the job as an impressionable 23 year old, you still get to help people – and the small differences that we can make to people's lives along the journey is incredibly rewarding.
Reviewed 24 January 2020