VicPol Corporate

Recruitment process for Protective Services Officers

Learn about the recruitment process to become a Protective Services Officer with Victoria Police.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Victoria Police is committed to continuing application processing in these unprecedented times and we are doing everything we can to make sure that happens. The health of you, the community and our staff is our highest priority; we want to ensure we are staying proactive and taking all precautions to keep everybody safe and healthy. 

Applications for Police & PSO roles are still open and we will notify applicants of any changes or modifications to the recruitment process with as much notice as possible.

There is no one key attribute, skill or experience that we look for in candidates, instead it’s your overall suitability for the Protective Services Officer role that will improve your competitiveness.

The recruitment process can take in excess of six months to complete and assesses key competencies encompassing intellect, psychological make-up, general fitness, work history, community involvement and medical and prior offence history.

PSO - Recruitment process

  • You will be required to submit an application online. Your application will be thoroughly assessed and some may be rejected if deemed not competitive. Please ensure that you use correct spelling and grammar and that all questions are answered in full.

    The application form will consist of:

    • personal details
    • employment history
    • education history
    • history of prior offences and police dealings

    Upon completion of your online application, you may be contacted by Recruiting Services Branch via email to complete the Victoria Police Entrance Examination.

    All costs associated with travel to and from assessment venues/stages will be the responsibility of the applicant, including costs to sit the entrance exam, sum of skin folds test (if required), medical appointments and first aid certification.

    Before submitting your application ensure that you have familiarised yourself with the recruitment process. To learn more about the recruitment process watch the Victoria Police recruitment process videos below:

    Uniform and appearance standards

    Victoria Police employees are required to project an image that is consistent with a professional and disciplined law enforcement agency. Therefore employees’ clothing, grooming and personal accessories must project a favourable image, and must not be extreme or detract from the need to present as employees of a professional and disciplined organisation.

    Applicants with tattoos/body art on the head, face, neck or hands should contact Recruiting Services Branch for further information regarding eligibility, prior to submitting an application. Full hand tattoos are not permitted, so applicants should have them removed prior to lodging an application.

    Members are permitted to wear the following items of jewellery: wrist watches, minimal rings of conservative style and emergency medical alert bracelets or pendants. Wearing of other jewellery, ornaments, adornments or accessories is not permitted. This includes: earrings, spacers, any facial/body piercing, plugs, tunnels, bars, chains, dental grills, etc.

  • The eligibility checking stage of the recruitment process is where our recruitment team will review your application to determine both your eligibility and suitability to join Victoria Police as a Protective Services Officer. This includes assessing your basic driving and criminal history and responses to motivational and behavioural based questions.

    The role of a Protective Services Officer is a highly sought after position and as such the recruitment process is highly competitive. Not all applications will progress past this initial stage of the process.

  • Applicants sitting the exam should use the following preparatory materials:

    For additional practice questions, applicants can purchase:

    Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is the examination authority for Victoria Police

    See the ACER website for PSO assessments:

    The Victoria Police entrance exam is made up of eight sections:

    1. verbal reasoning assessment
    2. numeracy skills assessment
    3. abstract reasoning assessment
    4. literacy skills assessment
    5. summary writing assessment
    6. extended writing assessment
    7. oral communications assessment
    8. digital literacy assessment 

    Entrance exam summary writing component tutorial

    This tutorial explains in detail what’s involved in the Summary Writing Component to help applicants better prepare.

    Entrance exam extended writing component tutorial

    This tutorial explains in detail what’s involved in the Extended Writing Component to help applicants better prepare.


    If you do not pass at the Police standard, but do pass at the Protective Services Officer (PSO) standard, some applicants may be offered the opportunity to change streams into the PSO application process.

    Applicants will be responsible for all examination costs, including the initial exam ($220) and any subsequent re-sits.

    Applicants will have 2 months to sit their exam and if unsuccessful on any component, will be able to re-sit. If unsuccessful on the re-sit, an exclusion period will apply. This is why you need to be ready to pass the entrance examination before you apply.

    After booking your exam, you will receive email instructions to download an electronic ticket seven days prior to sitting date. You will not be able to change the session date and time beyond this point.

    You must bring a printed copy of your electronic ticket to your exam sitting; failure to do so will result in you not being allowed entry into the exam.

    If you do not arrive at the venue at the time stated on your ticket and/or if you are not able to present a printed ticket, you will not be permitted to sit the exam. However, you may apply to ACER for an exemption in order to re-book for a future date.

    The dress code for the entrance exam is tidy casual attire.

  • After successful completion of the Victoria Police Entrance Examination, Recruiting Services will conduct a preliminary check of your previous history to determine your eligibility and suitability for the role. To facilitate the background checks you will be sent a document pack that we require you to complete in detail.

    These documents require you to tell us about various aspects of your background including but not limited to; employment, family associations, education and travel. Your accuracy in completing this document package is an assessable component of the recruitment process.

    Missing or incomplete information will result in your application being delayed.

    Your previous history will be assessed (traffic, criminal, employment, etc) at this stage and throughout the entire selection process.

    It is important that you fully disclose all information relating to prior history including past employment. Failure to disclose information can result in your application being cancelled.

    If you are unsure and would to like check if your offence history will affect your application, you can consult the Prior Offences History Guidelines and complete a Voluntary Disclosure Form which will be assessed prior to submitting your application.

    Submit a Voluntary Disclosure Form if you are unsure whether or not your Police contacts, driving infringements and/or prior offence history make you eligible/not eligible to apply. Please list the details of the matters as you recall them.

    A full check of all Victoria Police, interstate and associated agency data bases will be undertaken.

    Instructions for submitting your VDF: Your VDF must be submitted using a desktop computer or laptop. In order to successfully submit this document, please click on the link below and save this form to your desktop computer before completing your responses. Using the form you have downloaded, complete the required fields and select the submit button for the form to successfully be sent in for review. 

    If you have any contact with police during the selection process, you must inform the Recruiting Services Branch immediately via email:

  • You will receive a link via email to complete the video interview. You will have seven days to complete your video interview. You will be given a set amount of time to record your answers. You must complete the interview using any electronic device with a camera (eg. mobile, laptop, PC, tablet). 

    The video interview has been designed to find out more about you, including your ability to communicate effectively, your understanding of the role and why you have applied for Victoria Police. The questions have a number of themes, being:

    • role and organisational requirements
    • organisational values and behaviours and your ability to reflect those values/behaviours

    To prepare for the interview, ensure you have relevant examples that you can explain comprehensively within the two minute time frame given per question. You will also need a good understanding of the Victoria Police values:

    • safety
    • integrity
    • leadership
    • flexibility
    • respect
    • support
    • professionalism
  • As a Protective Services Officer, it is imperative to maintain a healthy level of fitness. As part of the application process you will be required to undertake a fitness test designed to test your level of cardio fitness and physical strength.

    You may be invited to attend the fitness testing as soon as 1-4 weeks after passing the Video Interview stage. Therefore, it's important to ensure that you , have watched the fitness test video and are ready to pass the fitness test, before you apply.

    The fitness tests are normally conducted out of the Police Academy on a Sunday and you will usually be required to remain for approximately five hours.

    The fitness test includes the following components:

    • beep test (5.01)
    • grip test (30kg in each hand)
    • Illinois agility run (20 seconds or less)
    • push-ups (five successive push-ups on toes)
    • prone bridge (hold for 60 seconds)
    • obstacle climb (1.3m)

    Play the beep test audio.


    Police Fit fitness app

    Download the Police Fit fitness app:

  • As the Protective Services Officer role can be psychologically demanding, all applicants must complete psychological testing during the recruitment process.

    Victoria Police utilise a suite of psychological tests to assess candidates' psychological suitability. The results of the tests are interpreted by Psychologists from the Victoria Police Psychology Unit who provide recommendations to the Recruitment Services Branch.

    Following the test, all applicants will be required to attend a one-on-one interview with a Psychologist to further assess their suitability for the Protective Services Officer role. This is a normal part of the process and its purpose is to obtain further information to assist in the interpretation of the test results.

  • You will be provided with your medical booklet at fitness testing day. This document is designed to assess your current health status as well as your medical and surgical history.

    As part of this medical assessment process, you will be required to complete a self-assessment questionnaire, undergo an examination by a GP, have your hearing tested by an audiologist or audiometrist and your vision tested by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

    All costs associated with this stage will be incurred by the applicant.

    Failure to completely disclose information may result in the cancellation of your application.

    If you have further questions regarding your medical history, please complete the following form.

  • As your application progresses through the recruitment process you will be constantly assessed against Victoria Police’s values and code of ethics. It is during the Comprehensive Checks stage of the process that we will look further into your employment history, associations, social media and any police involvements.

    It is essential to ensure that you fully disclose all information to Victoria Police at all times throughout the recruitment process. This means declaring all associations including family members, those living with you and any person you associate with, or have associated with in the past, whom you suspect to have a criminal conviction or Victoria Police would consider being of poor character and reputation. This allows us to assess the risk of different associations to yourself, your colleagues and the organisation.

    Failure to declare any information as part of your application process will raise concerns regarding your integrity, character and suitability for the role within Victoria Police.

  • The interview is usually the final step in your recruitment process. The interview will usually be conducted at the Victoria Police Centre, Flinders Street, Melbourne and attended by two trained members of Victoria Police. It will consist of behavioural and scenario based questions.

    Following the interview, not all applicants will be deemed suitable for induction into the Victoria Police Academy.

  • If successful, you will go into the candidate pool awaiting invitation to start your training at the Victoria Police Academy.

    We endeavor to provide you with six weeks' notice before starting at the Academy.

Reviewed 30 July 2021

You're more suited than you might think

A career as a Protective Services Officer is rewarding and challenging, with excellent flexibility and good work-life balance. When choosing an exciting new career, it’s not just about who you are, but who you’ll be. Do you have what it takes to be a force for good? 

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