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Specialist roles and areas for police officers

Learn about the specialist roles and areas available to police officers once they have completed their general duties.

As a police officer, once you have completed your minimum two to four years of general duties, you will have the opportunity to specialise and develop a skill set in a specific field of expertise.

Securing specialist police roles can be competitive, depending on which specialist area you are interested in.

Your time as a General Duties police officer, interacting with specialist officers, will provide you with exposure to the broad range of areas and task forces on offer.

Victoria Police will provide you with all the necessary training for your specialist field of choice.

The full list of specialist areas below also includes various task forces that are formed as needed.

  • Air Wing
  • Analyst
  • Arson and Explosives Squad
  • Clandestine Laboratory Squad
  • Covert Unit
  • Criminal Investigation Unit (Detectives)
  • Critical Incident Response Team
  • Dog Squad
  • Family Violence Unit
  • Forensics
  • Heavy Vehicle Unit
  • Highway Patrol
  • Intelligence
  • Major Collision Investigation Unit
  • Mounted Branch
  • Operations Response Unit
  • Prosecutions
  • Road Policing, Drug and Alcohol Unit
  • Search and Rescue
  • Sexual Offences Crime Unit
  • Special Operations Group
  • Various Task Forces
  • Water Police

In addition to specialist areas, police officers also have the option to seek promotion through the ranks. This will require further development and assessment. Again, we provide you with this training and encourage and support you in developing your skills and pursuing your goals.

  • The Police Air Wing provides state-wide aerial support for policing operations utilising rotary and fixed wing aircraft. The Air Wing covers a range of missions throughout the state of Victoria that sees the unit fly six thousand hours annually. The unit has a total of 56 staff, of which 14 are pilots and 38 are Tactical Flight Officers (TFO’s).  

    The 7 roles and responsibilities of the Air Wing are:

    • Tactical Deployment
      • of specialist units
    • Aerial observations providing;
      • tactical assistance for ground units on operational tasks
      • crime scene observations and photographs
      • traffic observations
      • support to ground units with offenders engaging in pursuits and evading police
    • Search
      • missing persons
      • offenders
      • vehicles and vessels
    • Rescue
      • land and sea based winch rescue capabilities
    • Rapid deployment
      • specialist units to time critical tasks
    • Training
      • Pilots
      • Tactical Flight Officers
      • Specialist Units
    • Public Re-assurance

    A Tactical Flight Officer should have diverse skills and knowledge, a good sense of direction and situational awareness, excellent map reading skills, the ability to multi task whilst operating complex mission equipment and outstanding communication skills. The roles and responsibilities of a TFO can be mentally and physically demanding. It is strongly recommended that applicants have a high degree of physical fitness and discipline.

    Pilots are required to have certain qualifications before being eligible to apply. These include minimum flight hours, as well as various operational ratings. The majority of our pilots are recruited externally and undergo mandatory police training before becoming operational.    

    Remote Pilot Aircraft and System Unit (RPAS)  

    The Remote Piloted Aircraft and Systems Unit (RPAS) have recently introduced drone technology to assist with aerial operations. RPAS sits within the Air Wing structure and is staffed by five police members who are responsible for deploying drones in a range of operational duties across the state.  The unit will also provide a counter-RPAS service that harnesses the latest technology to respond to the illegal use of RPAS.

    The RPAS has the ability to deploy highly-specialised, metropolitan-based tasking, whilst also managing all Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) compliance requirements.  It will also progressively train selected members from other specialist units (such as Search and Rescue and the Operational Response Unit) along with some regional offices to provide their own localised basic RPAS services. 

  • The Armed Crime Squad is responsible for attending any call out where an aggravated burglary or armed robbery or attempt has taken place. These incidents may include armoured cash carriers; gaming venues or financial institutions (like banks and post offices). The roles and responsibilities of this squad  also includes responding to:

    • any aggravated burglaries or armed robberies
    • whenever a firearm has been produced
    • organised trafficking of illegal firearms and the illegal disposal of firearms
    • all shootings
    • kidnap/abductions

    Requirements

    • Must be a qualified detective
    • Average shift is 8 hours plus overtime when required.
  • The role and responsibility of the Bomb Response Unit (BRU) is to attend to and deal with all bomb and explosive related situations within the State of Victoria.  This unit consists of a specialised team of trained bomb technicians sourced from within Victoria Police ranks. This unit is found within the Special Operations Group and was formed back in 2003.

    The BRU is responsible for responding to:

    • improvised explosive devices, suspect packages, post blast bomb scenes, chemical/biological/radiological devices
    • bomb searches prior to major events
    • explosive devices training and advice
    • coordinate military ordinance collections
    • coordinate collection of commercial explosives

    Requirements

    • Minimum 2 years of General Duties experience
    • Live within 80km of the GPO
    • Undertake periodic medical, physical and psychological assessments
    • Characteristics: self-motivated, work autonomously, work well in teams, ability to work within restrictive personal protective equipment, problem solver.

    A military, technical or explosives background is not necessary, as applicants will be fully trained as Police Bomb Technicians irrespective of their previous experience.

  • The role of the Criminal Proceed Squad is to investigate unexplained wealth around criminals and their syndicates. This may result in assets being restrained where serious charges are laid for certain offences.

    The roles and responsibilities of the Criminal Proceed Squad include:

    • conducting unexplained wealth investigations
    • investigation of money laundering
    • investigation of asset holdings of targeted offenders

    There are also accountants, analysts and solicitors based within the Criminal Proceed Squad.

    Requirements

    • Must be a qualified detective OR have 3 years of General Duties experience to be able to apply for a detective position
    • Average shift is 8 hours plus overtime if required
  • The role and responsibility of the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) is to support front line members in the resolution of high risk incidents. This could include but is not limited to a violent confrontation or where there is a reasonable assumption that a person is armed with a weapon, including sieges, barricade incidents and searches for armed and/or violent persons. 

    There are six key roles within CIRT:

    • Critical Incident Response (primary role)
    • Close Personal Protection
    • Negotiators
    • Tasked Operations
    • Training Wing
    • CIRT Security Team

    The roles and responsibilities of CIRT include:

    • providing negotiator capabilities to support the resolution of incidents that may include extortion, hostage(s), suicide intervention and counter terrorism response situations
    • providing a range of other services that demand flexibility including Close Personal Protection duties for Internationally Protected Persons, holders of High Public Office and International Dignitaries
    • providing specialist support at major events
    • assisting investigation units with the execution of search warrants and arrest of offenders
    • providing a specialist response to clandestine laboratories operations

    Requirements

    • Minimum of 2 years in General Duties to apply
    • Encourages applications from all ranks and embraces the value of diversity and varied experiences
    • Elite level of fitness – you will be provided training from the CIRT application stage through to placement and ongoing professional development
    • One out of every six weeks is a dedicated training week
  • A detective is responsible for investigating a wide variety of suspected and committed crimes.  The role and responsibility includes:

    • preventing, detecting and investigating crime
    • apprehending and charging offenders
    • providing evidence in a court of law
    • overseeing certain crime scenes and assist specialist groups in the investigation of complex matters

    Eligibility

    • Need to be able to demonstrate a wide variety of investigative skills throughout their general duties experience.
    • Minimum 3 years experience in General Duties before expression interesting to sit the Investigator Suitability Assessment (ISA)
    • Once you have successfully completed both components of the ISA you are eligible to apply for detective positions

    Members who successfully complete both components of the ISA are immediately eligible to apply for advertised detective positions. 

    The Advanced Diploma of Police Investigation is a nationally recognised qualification which is delivered and awarded by Victoria Police. Organisationally this is a mandatory qualification required for appointment as a confirmed Victoria Police Detective.

  • The Dog Squad provides support for any police operation where the use of a dog may assist in the detection, prevention or resolution of an incident.  In this era of technology, the police dog is still one of our most reliable and efficient tools in scent tracking.  The Dog Squad has two areas of operation - General Purpose Dogs and Specialist Detection Dogs.

    General Purpose Dogs

    General Purpose Dogs are trained to track and search for human scent as well as perform criminal work. The Dog Squad predominantly use German Shepherds for this role. 

    The roles and responsibilities of the General Purpose teams include:

    • responding to planned operations
    • pursuing offenders fleeing from the scene of a crime
    • public order management events
    • incidents involving armed or violent offenders and searching for missing persons

    The General Purpose team work in conjunction with other specialist units such as the Critical Incident Response Team, Air Wing, Criminal Investigators and General Duties officers. General Purpose dog handlers are rostered for duty 24 hours, 7 days a week.

    Specialist Detection Dogs

    Specialist detection dogs are known as Passive Alert Detection (PAD) dogs. The Dog Squad predominantly use Labradors for this role. The dogs are highly trained and skilled to detect narcotics, cash, firearms, ammunition and explosives. 

    The roles and responsibilities of the different PAD dogs include:

    • narcotics - planned operations such as warrants, detection at music festivals and vehicle checkpoints
    • cash and firearms  - warrants, detection and evidence searches
    • explosives and ammunition - detection, clearances and warrants

    The PAD dog teams work in conjunction with other specialist units such as Criminal Investigators, Bomb Response Unit, Operational Response Unit, Water Police as well as general police. Detection dog teams can be rostered at any hour of the day but the majority of their work is planned operations during the day.

    Requirements

    • 56 Positions
    • Applicants must have a minimum 2 years in General Duties Policing, successful applicants generally have minimum 5 years of policing experience 
    • High level of fitness required
    • Highly competitive
    • 8-hour shifts with unpredicted overtime
    • Roster 24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
  • The Major Collision Investigation Unit (MCIU) attend and investigate fatal and life-threatening injury collisions. This unit will attend an incident if the following criteria are met:

    • there is evidence of drugs/speed/alcohol/fatigue/distraction or similar offending by a surviving driver
    • a Victoria Police employee (on or off duty) was driving a vehicle involved
    • an on duty employee or a police vehicle was involved
    • the collision resulted from a police pursuit
    • it is a hit and run collision
    • three or more fatalities result from the collision

    The Major Collision Investigation Unit's roles and responsibilities include:

    • obtaining statements from witnesses and persons involved in the collision
    • interviewing and charging offending drivers
    • compiling the brief of evidence and/or attending court and providing evidence
    • facilitate and operate 3D laser scanners
    • photographing of crime scenes and collision scene interpretation

    Requirements

    • 34 members divided over 10 teams
    • 1 Detective Senior Sergeant
    • 2 Detective Senior Constables
    • 2 Tactical Intelligence Operatives (TIO)
    • To apply (except for TIO), members must be eligible to apply for detective positions.
    • The unit provides a 24/7 response capacity to attend any collisions within the state that meet the call out criteria.  
  • The Missing Persons Squad is responsible for the investigation of suspicious missing persons (suspected homicide) where the body of the deceased has not been located or there are unidentified human remains (suspected homicide).  

    The Missing Persons Squad's role and responsibility is to provide response and support to regions when there is:

    • suspicious disappearances or high risk non-suspicious disappearances
    • long term missing persons cases (more than 30 days)
    • when there are unidentified remains (for more than three days)

    Requirements

    • Must be a qualified detective and have experience in another detective role prior to applying.
    • Average shift is 8 hours, although due to the area of work, response and support to regions often requires overtime in regional/remote areas around the state.
  • The Mounted Branch provides a state-wide resource in support of operational police at incidents of public order management, planned and targeted patrols, land searches, ceremonial duties at events such as funerals, Police Remembrance Day and community engagement events across Victorian communities. 

    The role and responsibilities of the Mounted Branch include:

    • deploying defensive tactics, vehicle intercepts, night time patrolling and assisting police on foot patrol where required
    • public order management, including working around flares and fireworks
    • cleaning out stables, feeding and grooming horses, cleaning and maintaining equipment
    • ensuring the horses are appropriately worked and ready for deployment

    The Mounted Branch places a heavy emphasis on the basics and fundamentals of horsemanship and riding. Once officers are highly proficient in these areas further training is provided in policing on horseback.

    Requirements

    • Must have a minimum of 2 years in General Duties
    • Must have passed a 2 week pre-selection horse riding course
    • 26 positions within the Mounted Branch
    • Shifts are 8 hours, although some shifts can be rostered for 10 hours
  • The Operations Response Unit (ORU) provides a highly visible police response to assist with priority organisational issues, public safety incidents and emergency situations. Assistance can be requested in circumstances where the response is beyond the capability and capacity of the local resources.

    The roles and responsibilities of the ORU include:

    • responding to protests, demonstrations, riots, sporting events and other events
    • deploying crowd management when there is high potential for violence
    • warrant assistance and vehicle check points
    • contribute to organisational priorities relating to road policing and/or crime
    • providing support to large scale emergency management incidents - bushfires, flood, earthquakes etc.
    • providing support to alpine regions during peak seasons

    Requirements

    • 320 positions
    • Applicants must have completed a minimum of 2 years in General Duties
    • Pass the ORU fitness test
    • Successfully complete the Public Order Response Team (PORT) training course
    • Requires to re-qualify bi-annual for the PORT training course
    • Shifts are 8 hours but will be expected to work overtime especially at large scale events
    • Could be deployed at short notice across the state
    • Shifts can changes at short notice due to the nature of the unit
  • The Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section (RPDAS) is a nationally and internationally recognised leader in alcohol and drug impaired driver enforcement.  

    The RPDAS Operations Unit roles and responsibilities include:

    • maintaining and deploying the Drug and Alcohol bus fleet
    • targeting drivers impaired by alcohol or other drugs
    • responding to regional areas in support of Police Operations for various event
    • improving road safety for the wider community
    • the mentoring and professional development of new Police Constables

    Requirements

    • 42 positions, 33 of which are qualified as bus operations
    • Ranks from Contstable, Senior Constable and Leading Senior Constable.
    • Bus operators perform duties inclusive of Evidential Breath Testing, Drug Testing and Drug Impaired Assessments.
    • Shifts are generally 10 hours, but may include over time
    • Rostered over 24 hours, 7 days a week
  • State Highway Patrol Solo Unit

    The State Highway Patrol Solo Unit provides a specialist motorcycle service in both a sealed surface and unsealed highway capacity throughout Victoria's metropolitan and regional areas.

    The key area of deployment is targeted road policing on Victorian highways and state forests and parks.  

    On Road Motorcycle Enforcement

    Dedicated Motorcycle Patrol Teams (MPT) are tasked to identified areas throughout the state to combat motorcycle related issues. The unit's roles and responsibilities include monitoring and responding to:

    • unsafe and illegal motorcycle rider behaviour on high powered street bikes (hoon behaviour)
    • lane splitting on arterial roads
    • excessive speed, alcohol and drug testing
    • distraction offences
    • rider licensing
    • motorcycle registration/road worthiness

    All-Terrain Motorcycle Enforcement

    Dedicated MPT are specifically tasked to suburban, provincial and rural areas throughout the state to target 'off-road' motorcycle related issues. For example, unsafe and illegal motorcycle rider behaviour on various forms of dirt bikes, which include monkey bikes. MPT also conduct alcohol and drug testing, detect distraction offences, rider licensing and motorcycle registration/road worthiness offences.

    Additional services provided by the unit include:

    • ceremonial duties - government protocol escorts, police and state funerals
    • motorcade escorts for Internationally Protected Persons
    • cycling races/events where a legislated rolling road closure is required
    • the escort of dignitaries who visit the state
    • searches and other support services to operational police

    The State Highway patrol also includes a Training Wing which provides all motorcycle and bicycle training and education as well as the research and development of appropriate riding techniques and methodologies utilised within Victoria Police.

  • The role of the Search and Rescue Squad (SAR) is to provide effective and efficient specialised search and rescue assistance beyond the scope of general operational policing. SAR roles and responsibilities are mentally and physically demanding and require a high level of commitment, self-discipline and physical ability. Some of the SAR duties include:

    • conducting land and underwater search and rescue
    • locate missing persons in remote and difficult areas (bush, snow, mountains, coastal and inland waterways and vertical cliffs)
    • underwater dives to recover stolen property, weapons, evidence, vehicles and other objects
    • working with other specialist units such as Air Wing and Dog Squad on operations

    To be eligible for a position within SAR applicants are required to complete the Victoria Police Search and Rescue Squad Training Course, which is a fourteen week full-time course. The course is designed to develop entry level skills and qualifications necessary for SAR operational duties. It is strongly recommended that all applicants have a high level of fitness prior to applying to increase the applicant’s ability to cope with the demands encountered during selection and the training course. 

    To be considered the following qualifications and selection phases are mandatory:

    • must have a minimum of two years' General Duties police officer experience and be below the rank of Sergeant
    • must hold a current recognised certificate in Recreational Diving Competency, issued by a certified SCUBA training organisation or equivalent commercial or defence force diving qualification
    • within application - demonstrate experience, background or qualifications desirable or relevant for SAR duties

    SAR currently consists of 21 members.

  • The Water Police Squad (WPS) polices all ocean waters from the New South Wales to South Australian and Tasmanian borders and all lakes and rivers within Victoria. 

    The roles and responsibilities of the WPS include:

    • coordinating and facilitating a patrol vessel 24/7 in Port Phillip Bay as part of the obligation to the Melbourne Ports Operation
    • coordinate all marine search and rescue incidents
    • law enforcement of the marine environment
    • responsibility for port security operations and marine counter terrorist capabilities
    • WPS also trains for and is the primary response unit along with Search and Rescue for all swift water and flood rescues within Victoria

    Requirements

    • must have minimum 2 years experience in General Duties
    • required to have an above average level
    • comfortable around water environment
    • beneficial to have marine experience (not mandatory)

    For those who display a high level of fitness and ability there are also opportunities to become involved as an operator or instructor within our High Risk Activity Environment. To be eligible to take up such opportunities the applicant must, on top of obtaining their Bronze Medallion, complete a Community Surf Life Saving Certificate. Qualified members can be called upon to support the Search and Rescue Squad divers as a Personal Watercraft Certificate operator in the surf environment or trained as Swift Water Rescue operatives.

Reviewed 24 June 2021

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