In news that all South Australians will welcome, the number of local officers sworn in as SAPOL recruits almost doubled in 2023 – and hundreds more are set to join the ranks from outside Aussie borders soon.
South Australia Police (SAPOL) has sworn in 230 local cadets last year, up from 121 in 2022. This big increase in cadet numbers is all thanks to the state government’s $12.2 million funding package, which delivered the money for more recruitment drives and more training courses as part of the 2023 State Budget.
The extra cadet courses mean 900 police officers and over 250 police security officers will graduate from the SA police academy and start their careers with SAPOL by 2026.
In more good news, the State Government has also just received federal government approval for its comprehensive international police recruitment plan, which will see 200 experienced officers from the UK, Ireland and New Zealand relocate to our state to join SAPOL. The approval means SAPOL can immediately start working to convert all the expressions of interest from international officers into SA frontline workers.
International recruitment campaigns, which have been running in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, will now be ramped up, showcasing the attractions of living and working in South Australia to a whole lot more police officers who could soon become part of the SAPOL service.
You Belong in Blue
The successful ‘You Belong in Blue’ recruitment campaign, which highlights the diversity of SAPOL to locals, has helped our police service achieve its best recruiting figures since 2018 last year. The campaign is all about letting all fit, community-minded and driven South Australians know there’s a career in the police for them if they want it, and it’s set to continue in 2024 to attract even more local officers. If you want to find out all about it – and whether you belong in blue, we’ve got the lowdown here.
Six police cadet training courses have begun since 1 July and with a further six scheduled to commence by 30 June, SAPOL is aiming to recruit 300 cadets this financial year. The Fort Largs Police Academy in Taperoo is also currently training 211 cadets.
To find out more about the new officers swelling the ranks of SAPOL, we spoke to some of its newest members.
We chat to recent SAPOL Academy graduate Hayley
Prior to joining SAPOL in March 2023, Hayley worked at the Department for Child Protection. This experience taught her skills of conflict resolution and gave her exposure to child abuse-related issues in the state, that police officers regularly investigate – not that you need any relevant experience to join the service.
“What attracted me to SAPOL the most is the opportunity to progress my career through numerous roles within the organisation and the various locations,” says Hayley, who graduated from Course 63 of the SA Police Academy in December 2023.
The training at the Academy was challenging but rewarding, says Hayley, who highlights communication as being among the most important skills she learned; “the ability to communicate with people is a big part of responding to dangerous situations,” she says.
For Hayley, what’s most exciting about a career as a police officer is the fact that “not every day is the same and police are constantly challenged with unusual, ambiguous and confronting situations”.
“I am looking forward to advocating for vulnerable people within the community and being there to support people who call the police for help,” she says.
“I am well aware that on most occasions when people contact the police, it is on the worst day of their lives, so I am mindful that the assistance I can provide can have a lasting impact on their difficult situation.”
Hayley urges individuals who might be interested in joining SAPOL not to be put off by common misconceptions or misunderstanding in the community about police officers. The role that police play in the community goes far beyond “stopping vehicles and issuing fines,” she says. “The situations that police are involved with are not limited.”
“If you are thinking about applying [to the Academy], just do it. It has been the best experience and it’s a job like no other.”
Fulfilling a life-long dream
Becoming a police officer is fulfilling a life-long dream for Course 63 member Damian, who brings a love of sport and background in sales.
“It’s amazing how fast the academy time goes! When you first start, it feels like nine months is a long time, but all of a sudden it’s over,” he says.
Damian encourages people considering a career change to give policing a go; “don’t ever think that it is too late or that you couldn’t do it. I joined at 42 and had a lot of self-doubt during the recruitment process and early at the academy.”
Fellow graduate Balwinder worked as a correctional officer in New South Wales and South Australia, before studying at SAPOL’s academy. He has also been a reservist in the defence force for more than six years.
“Prior experience and knowledge prompted me to join the front line, and I moved from New South Wales to South Australia just for SAPOL,” he says.
“The process was very straightforward, and although it took me 10 months to get through, it was worth waiting for it.
“I would like to work in the traffic and major crash section in the future.”
If you’re looking for job security, career progression pathways and a chance to make a real difference in local communities visit achievemore.com.au