Police Academy

Academy Life

This is a short article by one of the Forum members who Posted this information upon the Forum in May 2009 about the day to day life at the NSW Police Academy, Goulburn.

This is how it was between May – December 2008

This is a guide to those of you who are lucky enough to have been selected to go down to the NSW police academy in Goulburn. It is by no means an exhaustive list or guide to all aspects of the academy, but it is a guide to how I found the whole academy experience to be.


While the academic aspect is often stated to be out of touch with the real world of policing, as it is taught by the University, the reality is that *most* of what you learn while at the academy comes in handy for when you get out there in the streets, and that most of the teachers down there have in fact spent many years working the streets. Of course you get the few teachers who are civilians and who work for CSU, but even most of them know what is relevant to your future career and what is not. The academic work mainly consists of learning relevant legislation and powers, but also things such as traffic, communication skills and ethics.

You will find that class times can vary greatly from normal business hours, to 14 hour days, often depending on your intake size.

Our classes typically started at 7:30am (Or at 6:45 twice a week for drill) with a master lecture, which is basically when your whole session (or half of it, depending on size) goes to the gymnasium and sits and watches a powerpoint presentation. These went for 1.5 hours. We then had two tutorials (each one 1.5 hours). The tutorials are basically like a high school classroom. You do these with your class, or subgroup of about 20 students. You usually have two of these each week for each subject. There would be a break for lunch at 12:00pm. Lunch would finish at 12:30pm or 1:00pm and we would then have our ‘practical’ classes, being SPAC, COPS, PT or DT, which ran until about 5:30pm during session one, and 9:30pm during session 2.

Session one focuses heavily on the academic side of stuff, and you do very little in the way of practical learning. During session two the fun begins, and suddenly you’re doing a mix of firearms, batons, handcuffing, weaponless control tactics, drill and public order training every day, along with the academic stuff. You go into uniform usually about 4 weeks into session two.

While the academic work is challenging, it is not out of reach for anyone, provided you have half a brain. You just have to be prepared to put in the hard yards and keep on top of your work. I found that if you can make notes on each subject at the end of each week, and learn the main aspects of what was taught each week, you can very easily stay on top of your work. You just have to know how to pick out the most prominent points from each subject each week, and commit it to memory. I also found that by doing a bit of group study with your mates come exam time was a big help to both learn the material but also to unwind a bit as you can have a bit of a laugh while you do it.


This consist of either the old towers, or the new towers. Usually the new towers will be used to house session two’ers, but this isn’t always the case. The old towers are big 3 or 4 story brown brick buildings, which house approximately 16 students on each floor. In these towers each floor shares a block of toilets and showers, located in the middle of the floor. There are two common rooms with a TV on each floor.

The new towers are two stories, and each floor basically runs along a long hallway. There is a bathroom to share between two. And a common room between about 8-10 people.

In both the old and new towers, you room consists of a bed, a desk, a chair and a wardrobe.


PT, or physical training, is run usually only once a week (sometimes twice). It really isn’t hard provided you have a reasonable level of fitness. Classes usually start with 3 x sets of 10 or 15 pushups, sit ups and supported chin ups. For the chin-ups, a person holds each end of the chin-up bar against their thigh while the third person hangs below it. Your heels are on the ground, and you are on a 45 degree angle.

The class then usually consist of some type of aerobic activity, being either a distance run (max 6-7km in session 2) or interval training, beep test etc. During session one the furthest you’ll usually run is one lap of the academy, which is about 3.5km. During session two you’ll start running twice around the academy. Always bring a water bottle to PT as if you don’t have one you won’t be able to participate and you’ll have to make it up later with another class. You’ll also have to do a report. Same goes for if you decide to wear tracksuit pants – always wear shorts below them.


You’ll make a heap of friends at the academy, and it’s really about the only thing you’ll miss about it. Just make sure that if you go out drinking etc, that you’re back by curfew (11pm) and you don’t do anything stupid. It’s fine to go and have a drink at the workers, just don’t let it make you do something stupid. One thing you’ll learn at the academy is that you want to fly under the radar. You can and will get kicked out for doing what you may think are relatively minor things. And if you do get caught doing something wrong, fess up and don’t lie about it. Lies are probably the things that get the most people kicked out. And don’t speed in Goulburn – you’ll get caught.


For class – at a minimum wear a business shirt, tie, pants and black business shoes. This is perfectly fine, and to be honest you don’t need to go out and buy suits as most people don’t wear them after the first week. Maybe have one suit just in case.
PT – navy shorts cut above the knee, navy shirt, joggers. navy tracksuit for the cold days. Don’t stress if they have a small logo on them, it’s fine.
After class – most clothing is fine such as jeans, t-shirts, shirts etc. Just nothing with stupid things written on it, or for the ladies nothing too provocative. And you are supposed to wear shoes in the mess but they didn’t really care about thongs etc on the weekends.
Stationary – buy whatever works for you. I just used a folder for each subject, and just took one writing pad to most classes. Get used to using black pens. No one really uses laptops in class, unless you want to stick out.
Linen – It’s supplied at the college, but you can use your own if you prefer.
A laptop/printer – not 100% necessary, but it sure makes it a hell of a lot easier. I also had Optus wireless internet, which is fairly cheap and is very convenient, rather than having to go to the library.
$2 coins – for the washings machines and dryers

As I said this is by no means an exhaustive list, and things may well have changed a bit since I went through. I’ll try to add to this as I think of more…