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15 June 2024, 7:07am
Media Release

AFP on the hunt for the next generation of talent

Editor's note: Vision of AFP Protective Service Officers across Australia is available via Hightail.

The AFP is reminding Australians of the rewarding and exciting career of its Protective Service Officers (PSO) as the deadline approaches for applications to close in one of the AFP's biggest recruitment campaigns.

Running since last year, the campaign has attracted hundreds of new PSOs applications ahead of an expansion of operations.

PSOs have the opportunity to be stationed across Australia in both metropolitan cities and regional areas, while also offering opportunities to work overseas as part of the agency's global operations.

New recruits will join the more than 800 AFP PSOs who play a key frontline role in protecting the community and Commonwealth infrastructure.

PSOs provide an armed first-response capability at locations across the country, including Parliament House in Canberra, major Australian airports, Defence locations and other places of critical infrastructure.

Opportunities for regional work are available at Cairns and the Gold Coast in Queensland, Geraldton and Exmouth in Western Australia and Pine Gap in the Northern Territory.

With applications closing on June 28 the AFP is encouraging prospective PSOs to apply today.

Acting Commander Josh Kinghorn said the AFP was seeking recruits from a variety of backgrounds.

"Our PSO workforce is diverse and bring all sorts of life experiences with them when they start working for the AFP," Acting Commander Kinghorn said.

"What they all do have in common though is a desire to serve and protect their local and national communities, good fitness and health, a sense of adventure and a willingness to adapt and learn.

"As a PSO, there's no chance of being caught behind a desk – they are our boots on the ground, working with important people across Australia and the world in an extremely rewarding career.

"What our workforce does is important. If you're motivated to do something different that keeps our country safe — there's a world of opportunities in the AFP."

To be eligible to become a PSO, an applicant must be over the age of 18, an Australian citizen, hold a minimum education level of at least a Year 10 Certificate with further work experience or vocational education qualifications. Applicants must also hold current first aid and CPR certifications and be able to swim 100m freestyle.

PSO recruits are paid a wage to attend the AFP College in Canberra with meals and accommodation fees are covered.

After graduation PSOs receive a salary of $72,690 (inclusive of 22% composite) plus overtime and penalties. Those deployed to any of the three remote locations (Pine Gap, Exmouth and Geraldton) will receive up to $30,000 per year as part of the Remote Defence Capability Payment and an additional Remote Localities Allowance.

PSOs receive their roster months in advance which supports work/life balance and allows them make the most of their six weeks of annual recreational leave and four mandatory rest days.

Those willing to deploy to the AFP's remote locations may be selected for advancement courses more quickly.

CASE STUDY 1: PSO protecting travellers at Gold Coast airport

Will didn't have to go too far to fulfil his dream of being a police officer.

Before he became a PSO, he was a baggage handler at Gold Coast Airport.

He's now a member of the AUP at Gold Coast Airport and is responsible for protecting the travelling public and keeping Australians safe.

Deciding to apply to become a PSO was an easy decision for Will.

"Working at Gold Coast Airport, I got to see what the PSOs did and knew it would be a job that I'd really like," Will said.

"The work we do at Gold Coast Airport is quite varied and can involve everything from armed patrols of the airport precinct, investigating serious crimes and responding to incidents.

CASE STUDY 2: PSO in the top end

After graduating from the AFP College in 2007, Joel was deployed to Pine Gap before joining the Darwin Canine team in 2021.

He said being a Canine officer not only gives him a chance to work with a four-legged friend, it also provides the opportunity to engage positively with the community.

"We work closely with our counterparts, the Australian Border Force, Defence and NT Police canine teams," Joel said.

"It allows me to work with like-minded people who enjoy the problem-solving aspects of dog training - no two days are the same in the dog world.

"You know it's a good job when you wake up wanting to go in and see your best mate and when your days off are spent at beautiful places in and around Darwin, especially in the dry season.

"I would recommend this job to anyone who likes a fast paced, self-driven job."

CASE STUDY 3: PSO deployed to the 2023 Pacific Games

After graduating in 2023, Bailey was deployed in the same year to the Solomon Islands, helping the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force deliver a safe and secure Pacific Games.

Bailey said the opportunity to go to the 2023 Pacific Games allowed him to work with many people with different experiences in the AFP.

"Working with PSOs, Federal Agents and ACT Policing was a great way to understand the opportunities that exist in the AFP and to network with people all over the country," he said.

"This experience presented the opportunity to work alongside our partners like the Navy and Australian Army, meet new people and learn more about the Australian Defence Force.

"Engaging with locals in Honiara was a big highlight as well."

CASE STUDY 4: PSO engagement with community

In November 2023, PSOs stationed in Melbourne attended Holy Trinity Primary School in Eltham North with AFP Assistant Commissioner Hilda Sirec as part of a special school engagement opportunity.

The students sent the AFP more than 50 letters, thanking police for their work.

AFP members visited the school to thank the children for their letters and speak to them about the work police do and how the AFP helps to protect the community and keep Australians safe.

PSOs assisted the AFP Community Liaison Team and demonstrated the capabilities of an AFP PSO vehicle. The young potential recruits also tried on PSO uniforms and were treated to a puppet show.

PSOs are a crucial element to the AFP's frontline presence in the community and engagements in public, including special events.

CASE STUDY 5: PSO in Geraldton protecting critical sites

Kurt is the officer in charge of the AFP PSOs at Geraldton.

Kurt was at university studying aquaculture when his mum showed him a newspaper ad for the former Australian Protective Service, which is now the AFP's Protective Service.

"The training course was in Canberra, which was somewhere I had never been and the AFP was going to pay me to travel there to study – I thought 'sweet'," Kurt said.

He graduated in 1990 and has worked in multiple locations across Australia and overseas.

Kurt has been working in Geraldton since 2016.

"The best part of the job is working with some great people and contributing to important national security outcomes," Kurt said.

"I've also had the opportunity to move around Australia and deploy overseas, so I've been paid to see the world."

Kurt said he wanted to particularly encourage people already living in Geraldton, Exmouth or surrounding towns to apply for the roles.

"It is an asset to have local applicants who already enjoy living in town and have accommodation and support networks in place.

"However the AFP provides assistance to those who do relocate."

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