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When is a Cop not a Cop?

By Ntp 11 July 2007 25

When he is a PSO. What’s a PSO? A Protective Services Office.

The question then arises how do you tell. Well the Canberra public has never been that sharp in telling the difference but for the last year it has been even harder as the then Australian Protective Services was amalgamated with the Australian Federal Police and the AFP went through a re-badging exercise. Costly and inconvenient (I’m still finding uniform items I’ve got to take in to get re-badged) now all AFP officers, be they Sworn Police Officers or PSO’s have the same badge. Last week the PSO’s vehicles got re-badged. If not already the PSO’s will soon also have the same firearm as sworn officers although if someone can tell the difference between whatever the HK pistol they have is and the glock from any sort of distance they are a better person than I. No, the best way to tell the difference is that PSO’s, who as far as I know don’t have the need to carry around masses of victims of crime booklets, tape recorders and pull their notebooks out every 5 minutes, and police offices is that the PSO’s get to wear cargo pants with decent pockets and police have to wear polyester trousers that melt near heat and have pockets that are small and inaccessible when wearing a utility belt.

So what does a PSO do? They guard stuff. Buildings mainly. Usually filled with valuable government stuff or people but also including the external perimeters of all the embassies. The PSO’s also include more highly trained Air Marshalls. They don’t investigate your burglary (and despite what many Rioter’s say yes the police do do that it’s just that mostly there isn’t much to investigate -Canberra isn’t CSI Miami you know), attend that traffic accident or any other stuff that POLICE do. PSO’s do an important job but they are not police, they aren’t trained to do the same things and do not have the same powers under law.

Anyway why this rant now? Well the Canberra Times has very interesting piece including views from the Police Federation of Australia, the Australian Federal Police Association and Labor Party homeland security spokesman Arch Bevis. This is an issue that is often raised on the AFP internal forums but it’s interesting to see it get an airing in public.

What’s Your opinion?

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25 Responses to
When is a Cop not a Cop?
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BenMac 9:42 pm 12 Jul 07

DanMan – As CWNA pointed out, the PM and all others are protected by an AFP group called CCP (Close Personal Protection).

Danman 9:34 am 12 Jul 07

So who protects the PM? And visiting heads of States?


This is a question not a statement

BenMac 1:20 am 12 Jul 07

The apptitude, psycological and fitness tests to be accpeted to the college, as of now, are exactly the same for both Police and Protective. I believe the time spent at the college is now 16 weeks for Protective. Although that only came about in the last 6 months. So, you are correct in a way, the current serving Protective members aren’t upto the same standard as Police.

CWNA 12:18 am 12 Jul 07

BenMac – Agreed, but from a distance of more than about 5 meters, barely noticeable.

JJJ Monkey – I think BenMac may have been referring to the back ground check and security clearance regimen rather than the actual training requirements

JJJmonkey 11:54 pm 11 Jul 07

“I work at Parliament House where the AFP-UP (Uniform Protection) as it is now know, secure the external sections of the building. They are all great people, and don’t deserve to be labeled as “putting people’s lives at risk”. They have to pass all the same requirements as the Police, “

I beg to differ….the training requirements are quite different… AFP Police are required to attend the College at Barton for 22 weeks… I’m not sure of the exact length of time for the AFP – UP but I believe it is only 8 to 10 weeks.

For the AFP – UP to transfer into the sworn police side of the AFP, they get some recognition for prior training, but they are still required to attend the majority of the 22 weeks.

I believe the entry requirements are also different.

There are a lot of people in the AFP-UP that are not able to meet the requirements to the police side of the AFP.

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