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Since I have never served in the UK I can't give a direct comparison but the Life on Mars comments leave a lot to be desired. Policing in Australia and in SA is very different from what I've seen (only on leave visiting) in the UK. Someone mentioned guns. Yes, you carry a S&W.40 s/auto and of course you never expect to use it and thankfully not too many in SAPOL need to do so. More likely to use oc spray and sometimes that bloody useless ASP baton but generally speaking the usually old biffage is what you'll find yourself doing - discreetly and within the bounds of the law of course. Legally you will find you have far more authority as a police officer in SA than you do in the UK. There are not "arrestable offences" here, the arrest power is extremely broad which is why it's administratively controlled despite the law being clear on the original authority of constables. Because in SA you can be required to serve anywhere you will find a lot of variety in police work. I served in the outback in my first few years and had a wonderful time there.
Don't expect some sort of automatic promotion. You'll get treated like everyone else and merit is how you get promoted, plus you have to pass the exams and gain the theoretical qualifications. There is no OSPRE in SA, it's all internal. Your experience in the UK will be assessed as part of your suitability for a position for promotion, it won't be ignored but unless you package it properly in your application (if you get in you'll find a lot of helpful info on job applications on the SAPOL Intranet site - should be useful I wrote some of them myself ). Don't assume that service in the UK will automatically put you in front for a job, as you would know, policing is about context, particularly cultural context and the culture here is very different - generally not in the police I mean - from the UK so bear that in mind. I mean a murder inquiry is a murder inquiry but policing generally is carried out in a particular cultural context.
When I was serving I saw quite a few UK coppers join up by themselves, not part of the sponsored groups I mean and most of them did very well in assimilating and getting on with it. The ones who really settled were those who used their previous policing experience to inform their new job role rather than simply relying on the assumed advantage it would give. Other SAPOL coppers were glad of their experience and competence. Again as you would know, coppers appreciate competence demonstrated not talked about.
As for management - patchy at best. The force is dominated by the will of the current Commissioner. As a bloke he is actually quite a decent type, as a Commissioner it's his way or the highway as the saying goes. He served in Victoria Police for most of his professional life so that explains his approach, Vicpol is highly militaristic and quite rigid in its management approach, historically SAPOL has been a little looser and a bit more casual. When Commissioner Hyde succeeded the late Commissioner Hunt a lot of that changed. To some degree it was necessary as SAPOL was slightly moribund, Hyde shook it up and put accountability where it belonged, with his senior people who up to that point had coasted a bit.
You'll find that you have good industrial relations protection with the Police Association. They are extremely effective, best in Australia I would think but then I might be biased since I also worked for them for a few years. But they do work well in keeping management and government honest and have a pretty good rapport with the community which is absolutely important.
Young general duties coppers in SAPOL now do much more than when i was a young bloke. They do it well, they're very good at their job, well-trained, well-equipped and very professional and the job is in excellent hands with them.
The new Academy building is in place soon and about time, the old one was tired. The training programme is okay but could be better but training hasn't been a priority for many years unfortunately.
It's not Life on Mars nor is it Dixon of Dock Green or Z-Cars, it's a good job in a generally good community and I'd recommend it without bias or prejudice.
Last edited by Royd; 03-12-2011 at 11:18 AM.
Do you have to be a serving police officer in the UK to take advantage of their recruitment opportunities? my OH has been out of the UK police for a while and i wondered whether he could get into SA police because of his history...
Heather, they are desperate for new recruits so i reckon they would snap him up. I think it depends on how long he has been out of the job as to whether they would take prior service into account.
Well worth a 2 minute phonecall to recruitment though to find out
my hubby came over as a hairdresser and is now a cop here so your hubby's background might help him get in but he will still have to do the interviews and test and the 6 months at largs. worth looking into if thats what he wants to do :)
Got 175 visa 18th April 08
landed on planet Adelaide 26th Oct 08 LOVE IT!!
Wow Royd! What an interesting post, thank you.
And that's all I wanted to say lol!
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