NSW Police Positions & Ranks

Job Description

Police Officers have a responsibility to protect public life and property.  Police officers enforce the law by arresting criminals and detecting and preventing crimes. They undertake extensive on-the-job training and perform a diverse range of duties, including maintaining public order and safety; being the first responder to emergency calls; investigating and prosecuting criminal offences; enforcing traffic law; securing and examining crime scenes; and dealing with violent offenders or people under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The role is varied and focuses on leadership, decision-making, customer service, risk management and public safety. Some of the things you will be involved with include:

  • Domestic dispute issues
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Armed robberies
  • Stealing offences
  • Assaults
  • Deceased persons
  • Patrolling and high visibility policing

Police Officers work in varying conditions and diverse locations, assisting with planned operations and supporting ad hoc incidents and natural disasters (floods and bushfires).  They apprehend offenders for various crimes, from minor traffic infringements to serious charges and indictable offences.  Police Officers gather information, make notes, interview victims, witnesses and offenders, take statements and prepare reports and briefs of evidence.  They prepare and give evidence in person in court proceedings when required.  You can progress your career working through various ranks which are available based on time served and experience.  

Alternatively, you can specialise in other roles while working for NSW Police, such as working in a Specialist Command or Unit.  These specialist roles operate within a Specialist Command or Unit.  Specialist commands are exciting avenues you can take in progressing your career within the NSW Police Force.  Before earning a promotion or transfer to a Specialist Command or Unit, Officers will need to work through the ranks of Probationary Constable, Constable and Senior Constable which takes several years. The experience and training required to join a specialist command or unit varies from state to state, but generally follows a similar trajectory.  Some states require that prospective Specialist Command Officers take and pass comprehensive exams, undergo further specialist training and undertake assessement of skills and abilities.  Read about all other Specialist Command Roles here


All Australian Police Officers must hold Australian citizenship or permanent residency and must also pass an extensive application process including background checks, examinations and a series of health, fitness, and psychological tests.

NSW Police applicants are required to attend Charles Sturt University for a period of six months, then after graduation, fulfill one year as a Probationery Constable.  Recruits at the academy can nominate five (5) preferred locations for placement. NSW Police endeavor to employ officers at the preferred location, but the NSWPF must first meet operational field requirements, which will influence final placement.  Officers should be prepared to work anywhere within NSW. 

As a Probationary Constable, you will be partnered with a Field Training and Assessment Officer (FTAO) for the first couple of months. The FTAO will be your guide and assist you through everyday tasks. An FTAO has undertaken a specific training course and is aware of the study requirements of Probationary Constables.  Your ongoing training will be monitored by a local Education Development Officer (EDO) who assists with all aspects of your work and study. 

Progression into Constable and other senior or specialised roles usually come about through a formal qualification and merit is based on practical experience and appointment to specialist training courses conducted by NSW Police.

Officers are eligible for merit-based promotion to the rank of Sergeant and Senior Sergeant after seven years of service.  Promotion to the rank of Sergeant and beyond is achieved by way of a merit-based promotion system, whereby officers undertake a series of pre-qualification assessments and are placed on a ranked list before gaining promotion.  On promotion to Sergeant and Senior Sergeant, members are issued a warrant of appointment under the Commissioner's hand and seal.

A Police Inspector can be appointed upon completion of at least three years as a Sergeant (but usually more).  They must complete and pass the relevant assessments including an exam and interview and are then elevated to the rank of Inspector and issued a certificate of commission under the Commissioner's hand and seal.  Commissioned Officers may be acknowledged by the rank they hold or, more commonly, as "sir", "ma'am" or "boss" (terms of endearment for Officers that are respected by the subordinate rank).

A Superintendent is the next senior rank from Chief Inspector and is less senior than a Chief Superintendent.  The position is appointed based on recommendation, qualification, experience and application.

A Chief Superintendent are usually Commanders of Police Area Commands or specialist units.  The position is appointed based on recommendation, qualification, experience and application.

The Assistant Commissioner is generally the Commander of regions or corporate portfolios.  The position is appointed based on recommendation, qualification, experience and application.

The Deputy Commissioner oversees divisions.  The Force is split into four divisions, each overseen by Deputy Commissioner.  The position is appointed based on recommendation, qualification, experience and application.

Police Commissioner is the most senior rank in many police forces around the world.  The Police Force Commissioner is the head of the police force.  The position is appointed based on recommendation, qualification, experience and application and is usually announced by their predecessor.


  • Assertive
  • Calm
  • Civility
  • Common Sense
  • Communicator
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Ethical
  • Honest
  • Interpersonal
  • Initiative
  • Maturity
  • Open-minded
  • Resilient
  • Respect and Knowledge of Laws
  • Responsible
  • Secure

Key Skills

  • Stay calm and act constructively in highly pressured and unpredictable environments
  • Demonstrate effective strategies and show decisiveness in dealing with emotionally charged situations
  • Model the highest standards of ethical behaviour
  • Act on reported breaches of rules, policies and guidelines
  • Act as a professional role model
  • Seek to promote the value of diversity
  • Present with credibility, engage varied audiences and test levels of understanding
  • Ability to translate technical and complex information
  • Take responsibility for delivering high quality customer-focused services
  • Understand customer perspectives and ensure responsiveness to their needs
  • Find opportunities to co-operate with internal and external parties across the community 
  • Negotiate from an informed and credible position
  • Lead and facilitate productive discussions with staff and stakeholders
  • Show sensitivity and understanding in resolving conflicts and differences
  • Pre-empt and minimise conflict
  • Complete work tasks to agreed budgets, timeframes and standards
  • Contribute to allocation of responsibilities and resources to ensure achievement of team goals
  • Anticipate and assess the impact of changes, such as government policy, economic conditions, on team objectives and initiate appropriate responses
  • Ensure current work plans and activities support and are consistent with organisational change initiatives
  • Research and analyse information, identify interrelationships and make recommendations based on relevant evidence
  • Identify and share business process improvements to enhance effectiveness
  • Assess work outcomes and identify and share learnings to inform future actions
  • Exercise delegations responsibly 
  • Understand and apply high standards of financial probity with public monies and other resources
  • Identify and implement safe work practices, taking a systematic risk management approach to ensure health and safety of self and others
  • Identify risks to successful achievement of goals, and take appropriate steps to mitigate those risks
  • Be aware of financial delegation principles and processes
  • Understand project goals, steps to be undertaken and expected outcomes
  • Negotiate clear performance standards and monitor progress
  • Provide regular constructive feedback to build on strengths and achieve results
  • Address and resolve team and individual performance issues, including unsatisfactory performance in a timely and effective way
  • Promote a sense of purpose within the team and enable others to understand the strategic direction of the organisation
  • Plan and monitor resource allocation effectively to achieve team/unit objectives
  • Participate in wider organisational workforce planning to ensure the availability of capable resources
  • Provide guidance, coaching and direction to others managing uncertainty and change

Future Prospects

After completion of your initial three year tenure, you might be eligible to make a lateral move into a specialty post, such as a Dog Unit, PolAir, or the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit where you can work as a Detective, Training Officer, a member of the Marine Area Command, or many other specialised positions.

Transferable skills can be utilised in specialist roles within NSW Police such as;


You may like to think about advancing in this career, moving into senior roles  such as;


Transferable skills which can be used in positions following a career in NSW Police.

Former NSW Police officers have transitioned into a range of roles including TAFE facilitator, Client Services Officer, Analyst, Investigator, Compliance Manager, Truck Driver, Fire FighterCrime Prevention Manager, Correctional OfficerAccount Manager, Security Manager, Consultant, Safety Training Facilitator, Trainer & AssessorAged Care Coordinator, Area Coordinator and Managers in a variety of sectors.