Western Australia Police Service Recruiting Section

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					     The
Constable
 A Profile
                                         Western Australia Police Service
                                               Recruiting Section



Thank you for your interest in a career with the Western Australia Police Service.

To begin a new career in such a unique occupation as policing is a step which should not be taken lightly or ill-
advisedly.

This booklet has been produced to assist you in gaining a realistic insight into the true nature of the job of a police
constable - the starting point for every police officer.

Research has identified the following 22 “job dimensions” related to successful performance by a constable:

      Adherence to Authority           Perseverance
      Attention to Detail              Person Relations
      Controlled Demeanour             Personal Impact               Endurance       Physical Efficiency
      Initiative                       Practical Intelligence
      Integrity                        Problem Confrontation
      Interpersonal Sensitivity        Resilience
      Job Knowledge                    Technical Proficiency
      Observation                      Tolerance of Stress
      Oral Communication               Vigilance
      Oral Fact-Finding                Written Communication

Together, the job dimensions provide an accurate profile of a constable. They may give you an appreciation of
what will be required of you, should your application to serve in the office of constable be successful.

The job dimensions are set out in alphabetical order and not in order of importance.
                                              Constable Job Dimensions


Adherence to Authority
Comply with Police Regulations, policies, orders, and lawful instructions from any senior member of the Police Service.
Most frequently constables comply with instructions issued by their sergeants but they also comply with a variety of written
orders, procedures and guidelines as well as instructions from commissioned officers and more senior constables.

Attention to Detail:
Thorough; conscientiously careful in the performance of a tasks.
Many tasks require that constables are thorough and conscientious, performing tasks in a cursory or casual manner is not good
enough. Examining the scenes of deaths, fires and offences; conducting searches of buildings, vehicles and persons; preparing
evidence for court; handling firearms; dealing with found or stolen property and taking descriptions of persons or property; all
require attention to detail.

Controlled Demeanour:
Maintain composure and effective performance when verbally or physically provoked.
On occasions constables may find themselves faced with a person who is abusive or otherwise provocative towards them.
However constables must maintain self-control and continue to perform their duties in a proper manner.

Endurance:
Continue to effectively perform the same tasks for an extended period of time; or continue to effectively perform tasks when
physically or mentally fatigued.
Some aspects of police work, such as vehicle or foot patrol can become tedious, particularly during the night if there is little
activity. Shift work can create tiredness. Regardless of these factors, constables must remain alert and carry out their duties
effectively.

Problem Confrontation:
Effectively deal with a potentially unpleasant or dangerous situation, rather than avoid or ignore it.
A constable’s job involves performing duties which are unpleasant, risky or even dangerous. When they encounter those
aspects of their job, they must confront the situation and deal with it in an effective manner. For them to avoid the responsibility
or attempt to pass it on to another officer is unacceptable; but it is not suggested that they take foolhardy risks.
Constables attend disturbances involving unruly or liquor-affected persons; body search foul-smelling and filthy persons; deal
with persons who are or likely to become violent; search darkened areas for an offender; attend the scene of another police
officer urgently requiring assistance with difficult or violent offenders; attend a death scene involving a badly mutilated,
dismembered or decomposing body; and on occasions deal with an offender armed with a weapon.

Resilience:
Handle disappointment, frustration and/or dejection while maintaining effective performance.
Whilst providing high standard working conditions and benefits for employees, the Western Australia Police Service does not
profess to provide a Utopian employment situation. Some constables may experience disappointment, frustration or dejection
caused by perceived imperfect working conditions or equipment; a large quantity of paperwork needing to be completed; or shift
work interfering with personal life. Despite this constables should overcome these feelings and not allow them to affect their job
performance.

Technical Proficiency:
Effectively examine or use equipment or items related to the police function.
This dimension is actually a special area of job knowledge with the accent on the constable’s competent use of a range of
equipment and items. They operate the vehicle and hand-held two way radios; use typewriters, computers and printers;
photograph prisoners and take fingerprints; handle a police issue revolver; drive a police vehicle at high speed on urgent official
duty; and administer preliminary breath tests. Constables also examine firearms for safety purposes and suitability for licensing.
Observation:
Effectively notice, using any of the five senses.
Constables spend a considerable amount of time performing foot and vehicle patrols. They should be alert and actively use
their senses of sight and hearing in particular if they are to be effective in preventing and detecting offences. Constables also
exercise their observation skills when checking the scene of an offence for evidence which may assist to identify the offender;
watching a potentially violent person for signs that they may act in a violent way; or searching for missing or wanted persons, or
vehicles.

Oral Communication:
Clearly express oneself in individual, group or court situations.
Communication between constables, their supervisors and members of the community is mainly oral. Interactions may be in
person, by telephone or radio. The types of communications are varied, they may be giving information or advice, discussing an
offence with a motorist, giving evidence in court or addressing a group of people at a disturbance. This dimension also involves
the process of listening, such as listening to matters requiring attention while on duty; listening to a witness, suspect or
complainant; or listening to what the parties to a domestic dispute have to say.

Oral Fact-Finding:
Gather information through questioning.
This involves a special part of oral communication, the emphasis being on the process of asking questions to gather information.
For example, constables interview suspects and witnesses; question people to obtain descriptions of property or offenders;
make inquiries into offence reports, question complainants to obtain full relevant details; question a person to establish their true
identity; question persons to gather information about criminal activities or wanted persons; or question persons to determine
their suitability to be issued with a firearm licence.

Perseverance:
Stay with a position or plan of action until the desired objective is achieved or no longer reasonably attainable .
It is not always sufficient that constables make one attempt and then give up; a certain tenacity is required. Constables
frequently have to locate a person to serve a summons or execute a warrant and they must make all possible inquiries to
discover the person’s whereabouts, not just “write it off” after the bare minimum of inquiry. Perseverance is also required when
making inquiries into an offence in an effort to identify the offender and following up all possible lines of inquiry to prove or
disprove a case against a suspect.

Person Relations:
Relate to people in a manner that is helpful and encourages a positive attitude towards the Police Service.
Constables deal with members of the community on a daily basis and they are required to provide a service to all on an
equitable basis regardless of their sex, marital status, race, age, religious or political conviction, family status or impairment.
Their manner of speech and behaviour should engender a favourable image of the Police Service.
Apart from the fact that the community have a right to expect courteous customer service from a government service, it is
recognised that the effectiveness of the service is often dependent upon the assistance and co-operation of the public. To
promote favourable person relations constables should attend to customers as soon as possible; in spite of work pressure
exhibit a friendly and helpful attitude towards members of the community; listen to grievances or problems and offer advice even
though it may not be a police matter; and ensure they inform complainants of the results of their inquiries.

Personal Impact:
Create a good first impression, command attention and respect, display maturity and show an air of confidence.
Whilst the dimension of “person relations” has similarities to “personal impact”, the emphasis here is on constables creating
good impressions of themselves as individual police officers, not only in the minds of the public but also with their peers and
supervisors. Encounters with many people may be brief and often insufficient for them to appreciate the deeper qualities a
constable may possess. Therefore, first impressions are important and lasting.
Factors which contribute to personal impact are speaking clearly, calmly and politely without the use of slang or rough language;
personal cleanliness and grooming; neat and clean uniform and shoes; not being excessively overweight; keeping a reasonable
standard of fitness; and always being punctual. When speaking to a member of the community, commissioned officer or giving
evidence in court, constables should sit or stand erect and never lean or slouch.
Physical Efficiency:
Effectively perform activities that require muscular strength, agility and/or stamina; and effectively defend oneself or another
against attack.
Although not an everyday occurrence, the job of constable inevitably involves some form of effort which requires good physical
condition. They can be called upon, at a moment’s notice, to sprint or run, or struggle with an arrested person, or defend
themselves or another officer against a violent person. Self defence has been included in this dimension because it involves,
apart from knowledge of techniques, strength and agility. Other than physical confrontations of exceptionally short duration,
stamina or sustained energy is also required. Other activities reflective of this dimension include lifting an arrested person into a
security van; separating two persons who are fighting; and handcuffing a struggling offender.

Practical Intelligence:
Analyse the key elements of a situation or problem, identify and evaluate possible courses of action, reach logical conclusions
and take appropriate action.
Having knowledge of the responsibilities, powers, and procedures inherent in the position of constable is not in itself sufficient.
This dimension reflects the necessity for constables to put intelligently into practice the knowledge they possess. It involves a
degree of reasoning ability, judgement, decisiveness and common sense. It is not always possible to seek the advice of another
officer.
A frequent situation for constables is when answering a telephone call - they must assess the need for police to attend, settle the
matter over the telephone, request the caller to attend the police station or re-direct the caller to another authority.
If constables have several jobs requiring attention, they must decide the priority which should be given to each task; they decide
if they have enough evidence to prefer a charge; they assess whether a witness is telling the truth; decide on the most
appropriate charge to prefer and whether to arrest, summons or issue an infringement notice, etc; On attending a crime scene,
they assess the need for Forensic Branch to attend; on attending a brawl or disturbance, they assess the situation before taking
action and request assistance if considered necessary.

Initiative:
Originate actions rather than just respond to events or attempt to influence events rather than passive acceptance; self starting.
Whilst constables for the most part carry out duties as instructed, it is desirable that they exercise initiative; that they do not only
what is basically required of them but go beyond without being asked. Constables demonstrate initiative by making an effort to
increase their knowledge of local offenders, suspects and trouble spots; or by studying statutes, regulations and orders to
familiarise themselves with law and police procedures.

Integrity:
Adhere to the values of honesty and trust; resist temptations of an unethical or unlawful nature.
As with police officers at all levels, society demands that constables exhibit the highest possible standard of honesty.
Constables are frequently trusted to work alone and unsupervised and also deal with files and information which must be treated
confidentially. Constables must apply the law equally to all.

Interpersonal Sensitivity:
React sensitively, be empathetic, compassionate, sincere and communicate tactfully.
The nature of some aspects of police work requires that constables possess humane qualities. The frequent tasks of advising a
person that a partner, child or near relative has been charged with an offence; giving advice at a domestic dispute; interviewing
the partner or near relative of a deceased person; or interviewing a victim of a trauma-causing offence; all require that
constables have considerations for the feelings of others.

Job Knowledge:
Familiarity with and effective use of, the laws, regulations, policies, methods, procedures and techniques that relate to the
position of constable.
This dimension is quite global in that it covers virtually all the job-related knowledge that constables must possess and the
practical application of that knowledge, other than skills or knowledge relating to equipment which comes under the dimension of
“technical proficiency”.
Constables make arrests, prefer charges, use powers and adhere to obligations imposed upon them under a variety of statutes;
complete court briefs and a wide range of reports and forms; issue various receipts; execute warrants; serve summonses; take
statements and records of interview; give basic crime prevention advice; determine whether complaints are civil or police
matters; deal with matters relating to firearms licences; perform traffic control duty; attend traffic crashes; and on occasions
administer first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
Tolerance of Stress:
Maintain composure and effective performance while under stress.
Studies have shown that police officers suffer from job-related stress more than most other occupations. A frequent situation
which causes stress to constables is attendance at violent or potentially violent domestic arguments. They may also suffer
stress when faced with a heavy workload or a large volume of paperwork; attending a situation involving risk or physical injury;
searching a building for a suspect; or attending a death scene.
This dimension emphasises the need for constables to handle the stress which they may experience and not allow it to affect
their performance.

Vigilance:
Cautiously watchful, alert, keenly attentive over short or extended periods of time.
There are occasions in the course of their duty when constables must give their undivided attention to the task in hand.
Constables often attend holdup or burglar alarms but in spite of the frequency of false alarms, they must be alert and watchful in
every instance. Vigilance is necessary not only to do their job effectively but also, in many instances, for their own safety. Other
examples of tasks performed by constables requiring vigilance include guarding or escorting a prisoner; ensuring the safe-
keeping of a crime scene; performing traffic control duty; and carrying our surveillance duties.

Written Communication:
Clearly express facts, findings and ideas in writing and in good grammatical form.
The nature of police work unavoidably requires that constables commit details of occurrences to writing for evidentiary, record-
keeping and communication purposes. In almost all instances the writings are intended to be read by other persons and
therefore should be expressed clearly, fully and be grammatically correct. Constables make entries in their official police
notebook; complete summaries of facts on court briefs; complete action reports; take details of telephone messages; prepare
their own witness statements; and write general reports.