Military to Policing Career Swap (Green to Blue)

Switching from a military career to a career in policing is possible and this is what I successfully did, however it requires careful planning and meeting specific requirements. 

There is a challenge when transitioning to the police service as the courses in defence will not likely have prepared you for the police aptitude tests. These tests are generally focused on skills we are best at towards the end of high school! Hence the problem for those of us joining the police later in our career. So, when should you likely apply for the police if you’re in the military? As the recruiting system for police applicants can be quite lengthy, you‘re likely best to apply whilst still serving. 

When applying there is also the challenge of studying for these topics alongside the requirements of a full time job and any other personal commitments. Again making it a bit tougher as mature applicants!

My aim with Police Preparation Australia is to provide succinct training that gives you the skills you need in the quickest time. I don’t agree that the best ‘test takers’ necessarily make the best police officers. So these resources aim to ‘level the playing field’ for those of us applying later in life.

Remember that the police, like the ADF, treat their selection process as a series of gates. As applicants, our prior experience and value we might bring to the service is irrelevant in the early stages of testing. So you need to take these aptitude tests seriously. The only thing that matters at that early stage is your score versus the rest of the applicants. 

Research and Self-Assessment:

Start by researching the various police services in Australia as each state has its own slightly different requirements and roles.

Eligibility Requirements:

Ensure you meet the basic eligibility requirements, which typically include being an Australian citizen or permanent resident and meeting age, fitness, and health requirements.

Education and Training:

Most police services require a minimum level of education, often a high school diploma or equivalent. 

Physical Fitness:

Physical fitness is crucial for police roles. You will likely need to pass fitness tests, which may include endurance runs, strength assessments, and agility tests. Prepare accordingly.

Psychological Assessment:

Expect to undergo psychological assessments to evaluate your suitability for the role. This is important for assessing your mental fitness and resilience.

Background Check:

Be prepared for an extensive background check, which includes criminal history, financial stability, and personal references.

Selection Process:

Prepare for a rigorous selection process, including written exams, interviews, and assessment centres.

Training Academy:

If selected, you will undergo training at the respective police academy. Training duration and content vary by state but generally cover law enforcement procedures, firearms training, self-defence, and community policing.

Transition Assistance Programs:

The police service you are applying to may have a program designed specifically to help veterans transition from the military to police. 

Adaptability and Cultural Fit:

Be prepared to adapt to a different work culture in policing compared to the military. Policing often requires strong communication and community engagement skills.

Continuous Learning:

Stay up-to-date with changes in police practices, laws, and regulations through ongoing training and education.

Remember that the specific requirements and processes can vary between the different states and territories in Australia. It’s essential to research the specific police service you’re interested in and follow their guidelines and requirements. Additionally, reaching out to current or former police officers for guidance and insights can be beneficial during your transition from a military to a policing career.

Although compiled some years ago, my short video below may shed further insight into my thoughts on transferring from Military to Police:

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