By HARRY CLARKE
NEW online resources allowing recruits to carry out half of their academy training online is part of a push by the Queensland Police Service to bring more people from regional and remote areas into the force.
For the first time, theory-based skills are being taught online to some students as the QPS this month begins training its largest intake of recruits in nearly a decade.
A total of 164 prospective officers have begun their academy training this month, a third of whom have opted to take advantage of online learning.
QPS recruitment manager Inspector Darren Carne said the idea to move some policing studies online was prompted initially by the pandemic response, but it was hoped the new model would encourage a greater intake of country recruits moving forward.
“We’ve broken off the theoretical components and they undertake those components from home,” Insp Carne said.
“They’re still guided by a facilitator but they have the ability to access the materials remotely.
“Then when they turn up at the academy, they go through what everyone else does and that’s the remaining skills acquisition – driving and firearms, just to name a few.”
Police recruits undergo training at academy facilities at Oxley in Brisbane as well as Townsville. Traditionally the course has required recruits to live on campus for six months, but now half of that course can be done remotely.
“It’s not just about the fact that it’s a contemporary and modern curriculum, but it will hopefully help our reach and get more applicants from country and regional Queensland,” Insp Carne said.
“For some, the whole six months away is not as attractive as staying on the farm, help the family a bit longer, or whatever their personal circumstances are.”
Murwillimbah recruit Keegan Thomspon, a former plumber and factory worker, and father of two, said the online course would make his transition into his new career easier.
“I wanted to get into a job where I get to help people, more community driven than business driven,” he said.
“(The online progam) is really convenient. For me, it was going to be an hour and a half drive to the academy and an hour and a half back every day. Now the borders are closed again, it would have been longer,” he said.
“I can log in, sit in on the classes, and type in any questions. I get more time to see my kids and spend a few more weeks with my family before I move away, which is great.”