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This page provides information and data on the Police sector, which is one component of the Corrections and Public Safety industry.

It is important to note that there are only a small number of enrolments and completions in the Police sector, as many training organisations in this sector have exemptions from reporting. The information on this page is therefore focused on general skills needs and information, as the number of students reported yearly is not representative of the training being undertaken within the sector.

Those in the Police sector are engaged in a range of activities including crime prevention, emergency and non-emergency assistance and response, regulatory and licencing enforcement. Police also often engage in community programs and engagement activities. Roles in the Police sector are diverse and varied, and require a range of skills and training.

Vocational training is available for occupations involving:

  • Community Engagement
  • Aboriginal Community Policing
  • Police Liaison
  • Protective Services
  • Police Intelligence
  • Forensic Investigation
  • Search and Rescue
  • Undercover Operations
  • Police Negotiation
  • Police Investigation
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Police Prosecution.

Nationally recognised training for Police is delivered under the POL – Police Training Package and the PUA12 – Public Safety Training Package.

For information on investigative services and security, see the Security and Investigation sector page, within Property Services .

Information sourced from the Public Safety IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

As detailed employment data for the Police sector is unavailable, employment levels for the occupation of Police have been used as a proxy. Employment for Police has risen overall between 2000 and 2018, with lows in 2004 and 2010 and a high of around 61,900 in 2013. It is projected that employment levels for Police will increase from around 58,400 in 2018 to approximately 66,600 in 2023.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Please note, most Police training is not reported due to organisational exemptions. The above is a trend of training reported by registered training organisations (typically non-government providers).

This data shows significant fluctuations in program enrolments in Police-related training between 2014 and 2017, with a 68% decrease between 2014 and 2015 (from 384 enrolments, down to 122), followed by a steady increase back up to over 400 enrolments in 2017. Completions have been steadier, trending downwards since 2014, however there was a slight increase (from 87 completions to 115) between 2016 and 2017.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Public Safety IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast identifies a number of priority skills for the broader public safety workforce in the next three to five years, which includes:

  • Search and rescue skills
  • Emergency response
  • Community engagement
  • Risk management.

Additionally, the following five top generic skills are identified:

  • Managerial / Leadership
  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / System thinking / Solving problems
  • Learning agility / Information literacy / Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence
  • Technology.

According to job vacancy data, the top generic skills in this sector are:

  • Communication skills
  • Planning
  • Research
  • Skills in building effective relationships
  • English skills.

In addition to the insights gained from the Public Safety Skills Forecast above, the Australian Federal Police’s Corporate Plan for 2017–18 notes that “the criminal environment is becoming more sophisticated, with rapid changes in technology testing our expertise and the threat from terror both enduring and evolving. Policing must also evolve to keep pace.” This report indicates that it is essential to have a healthy, diverse and inclusive workforce which is well trained, well equipped and supported by the very best technology available. The report also identifies the following skills, which are necessary to build an effective future workforce:

  • increased technical and specialist skills, developed through various models of engagement and partnerships
  • leaders who: are highly adaptive, value the views and expertise of others, communicate effectively, act ethically, and embrace societal values.

Another complex factor, influencing the policing workforce recently, has been a focus on the promotion of women in policing. According to recent research by the Australian Institute of Police Management “a significant increase in attention to women in policing has occurred in recent years, framed largely in terms of the business benefits commonly associated with organisational diversity. Notably, major independent reviews of organisational culture and sex discrimination have been commissioned by Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and South Australia Police, and a number of jurisdictions have announced 50/50 male-female recruitment targets. These initiatives have been simultaneously welcomed and resisted by both men and women (sworn and unsworn), raising a range of questions about how best to promote gender equality in our nation’s policing institutions.” This aligns with information contained in the Public Safety Skills Forecast, which acknowledges that, although gender equity is one of the sector’s key workforce optimisation initiatives, this cannot lower standards, nor be “at the expense of the quality of the service that members of the community receive or have come to expect”.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency

Australian Federal Police

New South Wales Police

Northern Territory Police

Queensland Police

South Australia Police

Tasmania Police

Western Australia Police


Employee associations

Police Federation of Australia

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 4413 Police.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 November 2018 <>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 4 digit 4413 Police, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection and Total VET students and courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • Police Training Package and Public Safety Training Package
    • POL21115 - Certificate II in Community Engagement
    • POL50115 - Diploma of Policing
    • PUA20112 - Certificate II in Public Safety (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Community Policing)
    • PUA30110 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Community Policing)
    • PUA30112 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Community Policing)
    • PUA40110 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Community Policing)
    • PUA40112 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Community Policing)
    • PUA50210 - Diploma of Public Safety (Policing)
    • PUA50212 - Diploma of Public Safety (Policing)
    • PUA50300 - Diploma of Public Safety (Forensic Investigations)
    • PUA50312 - Diploma of Public Safety (Forensic Investigation)
    • PUA60210 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Police Search Rescue - Management)
    • PUA60212 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Police Search & Rescue - Management)
    • PUA60312 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Police Investigation)
    • PUA61712 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Forensic Investigation)
    • PUA80112 - Graduate Certificate in Public Safety (Forensic Firearms Examination)
    • PUA80412 - Graduate Certificate in Public Safety (Crime Scene Investigation)
    • PUA80512 - Graduate Certificate in Public Safety (Fingerprint Investigation).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET Students and Courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Public Safety IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018, <>.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • 7711 Police Services, excluding Professionals, and Sales Workers
  • Employers
    • 5311 General Clerks
    • 4413 Police
    • 5111 Contract, Program and Project Administrators
    • 1399 Other Specialist Managers
    • 4422 Security Officers and Guards
    • 7711 Police Services.
Updated: 17 Dec 2018
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