Police recruitment surges as new programs are introduced to encourage more people to join the NSW Police Force


Chris Minns

Premier of New South Wales


Yasmin Catley

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism

Minister for the Hunter



Police recruitment surges as new programs are introduced to encourage more people to join the NSW Police Force


The NSW Government is today announcing new measures to further boost police recruitment to address the critical shortage of police officers and boost community safety across the state.

It follows the outstanding success of the announcement on 31 October 2023, that the Government would pay recruits to study at Goulburn Police Academy.

Since that announcement, NSW Police Force (NSWPF) has received 1,235 applications to train to become NSW Police (as at 5 May), a 26 per cent increase on the same period last year.

In further evidence that the Government’s strategy to bolster police recruitment is working, Class 364, set to graduate in December, is at maximum capacity, with more than 350 recruits.

Now two new programs are specifically aimed at attracting both experienced officers and regional recruits to the NSW Police Force.

Experienced Officer Recruitment Scheme

The government will launch a Professional Mobility Program (PMP) that will incentivise officers from other Australian states and territories and New Zealand to join the NSWPF while keeping their equivalent rank (up to senior constable level six). 

Previously, serving police officers who wanted to join the NSWPF needed to complete eight months study including four months in-person at the Goulburn before graduating at the starting rank of Probationary Constable. 

Successful applicants will now undergo a three-month course at the Police Academy in Goulburn focused on NSW policing policies and procedures. They will be paid in-line with the current payment for Student Police Officers.

This is expected to be powerfully attractive to serving police from interstate and New Zealand to join Australia’s largest and best police force.

Regional Recruitment Scheme

The NSW Government will also launch the You Should Be a Cop in Your Hometown’ program that will ensure people from regional NSW serve in, or near their hometown after they graduate from the Goulburn Police Academy.

While new recruits currently nominate several areas where they would like to serve, ‘Be a Cop in Your Hometown’ will give appropriate officers from regional NSW the opportunity to request to return to their hometown or a nearby community.

Preference will then be given to these recruits to fill any vacancies in their home town or nearby.

Rebuilding our Essential Services

We are currently carrying more than 1,500 vacancies – a legacy of the previous government’s neglect and mismanagement of police recruitment and retention.

These vacancies are placing significant strain and a punishing workload on serving officers. Action to tackle this is critical.  These measures are vital elements of that response.

They build on the NSW Government’s support for community safety by boosting police numbers through the abolition of the wages cap while also paying students to study to become an officer.

Premier Chris Minns said:

“The last month has shown just how important police officers are, risking their lives to keep us safe.

“Our police work around the clock keeping us safe, and the decisions our government has made to support them is paying off with a 26 per cent increase in applications to join the NSW Police Force.”

“But we know we need more police officers.

“We know we need more police officers. So Whether you live in regional NSW or another state, our message is clear – now is a great time for you to consider joining the NSW Police Force.”

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley said:

“Paying recruits to study is starting to look like a game changer but we won’t stop there.”

“Our Class 364 which will attest in December is full to the brim with more that 350 new recruits – the first full class in years.

“We have more than 1,500 vacancies to fill and mark my words, I’ve made it my personal mission, alongside Commissioner Webb, to fill them.

“I know our police are stretched and overworked. Many are exhausted. We need more boots on the ground and that’s what we’re determined to achieve.”

“The two schemes announced today, alongside paid study makes becoming a NSW Police Officer the most attractive it has been in decades. The proof is there, the numbers don’t lie. We are getting many more recruits and a more diverse range of recruits.”

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to announce these initiatives today, which will make it easier for skilled police to continue their careers in NSW.

“Policing is a career that provides so many opportunities. Each day is different to the next and it’s such a satisfying and rewarding job.

“But in the past, NSW may have missed out on potential recruits who may not have applied because they thought they wouldn’t be able to serve in their hometown, or those who didn’t want to lose their rank if they moved interstate. My message to those people is – now is your time to apply.

“We are seeing a significant lift in application numbers following the reforms announced, and I’m confident this announcement will make a career with the NSW Police Force even more appealing.”

President of the Police Association of NSW Kevin Morton said:

"It is heartening to see the pay-to-train model that the PANSW advocated for is working."

"The NSW Government continues to show its commitment to bolstering our ranks and ensuring the retention of our serving police officers. Their efforts deserve to be recognised."

"These additional recruitment initiatives will hopefully begin alleviating the strain on our frontline workers."