Police Officer

Police officers maintain law and order, prevent crime, investigate offences and preserve the country's internal security. Police officers have to be loyal to the Police Service and to the country and put the safety of the public above their own personal safety.

Duties can include interviewing suspected criminals, taking statements, writing crime reports, dealing with paperwork, gathering prosecution evidence, giving evidence in court, fostering good relationships, with the public, patrolling areas by foot and car, making and processing arrests, searching suspects, responding to emergencies, offering advice and reassurance to the public, controlling traffic/crowds and keeping the peace/mediating in tense situations.

For many, the sense of reward derived from serving the community and preventing crime will outweigh the negatives.

The South African Police Service consists of six divisions within which its members work:

Support Services: Some of the services this division renders to the police service are: logistical and language services, financial services, information services, administration services, legal services and so forth.

Crime Combating and Investigation Services: This division consists of various units such as the Diamond and Gold Unit, the Murder and Robbery Units and the Vehicle Theft Unit. Their main objective is to combat crime through: the effective management of information; investigation of offences or alleged offences; rendering of forensic science services; and the management of criminal records.

Human Resources Management: This division includes several subdivisions such as Personnel Maintenance, Training and Planning and Chaplain Services.

Internal Stability: The prime task of this division is the combating of violence within the Republic of South Africa. At present, members of this division wear camouflage uniforms. Emphasis is placed on preventive action such as patrols in areas of unrest. Members receive training in negotiating and conflict management techniques.

Visible Policing: This division specialises in less serious crimes and consists of various units such as the South African Reserve Police, Crime Prevention, the Special Guard Force and Emergency Services. They specialise in crime prevention, the investigation of less serious crimes, routine police services and administration.

Community Relations: This division is responsible for liaison services between the news media, police activities and the public. They must build a positive image of the South African Police Service. The division consists of, amongst others, Community Liaison, the Museum, the Video Unit and the various bands.

Personal Requirements

  • emotionally mature and stable
  • able to work well under stress
  • responsible, honest and have integrity
  • calm and patient
  • able to give and execute orders
  • able to make appropriate decisions quickly
  • desire to help others
  • able to maintain the highest form of discipline
  • physically fit
  • willing to work irregular and long hours

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate

What to Study

Degree: Policing BTech UNISA

Diploma: Policing NDip UNISA, VUT

College: Police students will be sent on a training course in June at one of the following South African police training colleges: Pretoria, Hammanskraal, Bishop Lavis, Wentworth.

The training consists of 6 months theoretical work and six months practical work in various police stations in the province.

Prospective police officers must:

  • undergo a strict selection procedure
  • be a South African citizen
  • be between 18 - 35 years of age
  • be a minimum of 1, 67 metres tall (men)
  • be a minimum of 1, 62 metres tall (women)
  • have no mental or physical handicap
  • have no criminal record
  • be in possession of an 08 driver’s licence
  • be able to speak English and at least one other language
  • take the oath of office


  • SA Police Service
  • self-employment, eventually could open own business, such as a private investigator

Further Information

From the nearest police station

Recruitment Officer
South African Police Service
Private Bag X94
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 339-1000

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a community centre
  • arrange to speak to police officers about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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