Phil Barrett - Recruitment Section Manager, Queensland Police Service

Phil Barrett
'As a police officer you are directly involved in the community and can make a significant difference to those people you come into contact with during the course of your duties.'

Phil started his policing career as an academy cadet in 1977 and has just completed over 30 years of service with the Queensland Police Service (QPS). Throughout his career, he has undertaken many roles including general duties, traffic branch, beat, watchhouse, communications, police youth club and station administration duties. Since his promotion into senior corporate management roles, he has worked in human resource management, ethical standards, research and evaluation. He now heads the recruitment section selecting Queensland’s next generation of crime fighters.

What do you look for in potential police officers?

We take into account education, Australian residency, employment and life experience, physical and psychological health, and, most importantly, personal integrity and previous conduct. Additionally, successful applicants must complete a six-month training program which includes senior first aid, firearm training and aquatic ability.

How important is on-the-job experience?

Because policing is such a distinct occupation, there is no need to have any particular on-the-job experience before applying. However, it is a career that requires advanced levels of interpersonal and oral communication skills, conflict management, sound judgment and the ability to make decisions in stressful situations.

How has policing changed in recent years?

Policing, like most professions, is becoming increasingly complex, especially in respect to technology and the magnitude of events police are called upon to manage. Computer literacy is now an essential part of everyday policing due to the increased use of technology to solve crime and the emergence of criminal activity on or via the Internet.

What’s the best thing about working in policing?

A key factor that attracts people to the profession is the important role that police play in the community. As a police officer you are directly involved in the community and can make a significant difference to those people you come into contact with during the course of your duties.

Are there any negatives?

Like all professions, there are positive and negative aspects of the role depending on the personal circumstances of the employee. Police officers attend incidents that can be stressful and traumatic in nature. It is also important to remember that police are rostered to perform duty any time of the day and night, every day of the year.

What different career options are available in policing?

Once officers have gained experience in core policing competencies as a general duties officer, there are many career opportunities available to them. There are over 50 professional discipline areas, including forensics, traffic, water police, investigations (detectives), prosecutions, special emergency response team, dog squad, mounted police unit, railway squad and many more.

How do officers apply for promotions?

The normal process for promotion is merit based and, before applying for a higher rank, officers must successfully complete mandatory development courses. Some specialised roles, for example forensics, may also require the completion of additional external tertiary studies prior to becoming eligible for advancement to the next rank.

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