The Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Program addresses barriers to recruitment and bridge to employment pathways in Victoria Police for underrepresented culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Aboriginal communities.

The program contributes to a culturally inclusive police force that better represents the community it serves and improves rapport and trust between Victoria Police and these communities.

For the police force to be effective, it must truly reflect all parts of the community which it serves.
- Superintendent Mark Porter

As of December 2019, Victoria Police had over 21,399 members. Fewer than two in every 1000 police officers come from non-English–speaking African communities.

This program – the only one of its kind in Australia – is proactively addressing this imbalance. 

Read the latest community update (September 2022).


Success & benefits

The program builds on a pilot funded by Jobs Victoria in 2018-21, focused on recruitment pathways for African Australians.

The pilot Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Program (structured around the Course in Policing Recruitment Pathways) targeted African Australian recruits. 

As of August 2021, this program demonstrated significant success and benefits:

  • 112 participants completed the program
  • 34% passed the entrance exam  
  • 30% are employed with VicPol or in recruitment process (of 12% general applicants)
  • 60 program applicants were referred or supported into alternative pathways (e.g. custodial and enforcement fields, JobActives, foundation courses, professional health care support)
  • 13 applicants secured alternative employment in the Army reserve, Border Force and TransDev
  • 70 Victoria Police members were assigned to mentor participants
  • the program allowed for knowledge/aptitude and cultural awareness transfers between VicPol and participants
  • there was active engagement with Victoria Police through industry-led visits to:
    • local police stations
    • the Police Academy
    • Mounted Police
    • Police Launch.

In 2022, the program was a finalist in the Engagement Australia Excellence Awards.

Victoria Police would see the benefit in further expanding the pilot program to achieve these same benefits by extending the program to other unrepresented communities including but not limited to Aboriginal community, Pacific Islanders, Middle East, Asia (East, South, South East) and South America.
- Superintendent Rebecca Draper-Schultheiss

Strong industry partnerships

The program was initiated when VU was approached by Africause to join with Victoria Police and other organisations, including:

  • Jesuit Social Services
  • AMES Australia
  • Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
  • Matchworks.

It aims to find ways of addressing the identified problem of the barriers to recruitment of under-represented communities to Victoria Police.

There are specific barriers that disadvantage these groups for entry into employment generally, and Victoria Police in particular. The barriers include language and numeracy skills, affordability, different cultural understandings, fitness and swimming capability. 

The objective of this program is to build the skills and attributes of potential recruits, to increase the proportion of people from African, refugee and other under-represented backgrounds in Victoria Police.

Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Program

Sergeant Regina Todorova discusses the importance of representation in Victoria Police

Alek, a participant of the Victoria Police Cultural Inclusion Recruitment Program, receiving her Certificate of Participation in the program from Superintendent Mark Porter.

Program participant Alek with Superintendent Mark Porter.


20 course graduates are now in the Police Academy

More than 150 African-Australian program participants

54 participants have passed the police entrance exam

Four graduates have passed all of the recruitment stages for the PSO role in Victoria Police

52% of the program participants continue on their recruitment journey

All participants have become competent swimmers. More than 20 had never learned to swim – until now!

  • Course accreditation in late 2019 has provided the opportunity for participants to graduate with up to seven Certificate III units, including Community Services, First Aid, Swimming, Personal Fitness and Language, Literacy and Numeracy.
  • There has been a 100% success rate in swimming and fitness at the test stage of recruitment.

Participation & results

The first six rounds of the Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Program were held at Footscray Park Campus and targeted the African-Australian cohort.

Subsequent rounds are scheduled around Victoria. Upcoming recruitment will support culturally and linguistically diverse applicants, thereby creating a stronger and more diverse emergency services force.

 The first six rounds of the pilot program were held at VU's Footscray Park Campus:

  • 159 participants in total were enrolled
  • 109 participants completed the 15 week program
  • 75 participants applied for VicPol. 14 active participants will soon submit their application
  • 54 participants passed the exam. 9 participants are still in the process and will sit or re-sit the exam
  • 20 participants are in different stages of the recruitment program, after passing the entrance exam.

16 academy graduates and four participants currently in the academy have been employed by Victoria Police.

Round one took place in Werribee and Geelong, involving CALD communities:

  • 20 participants enrolled in round one
  • 13 completed the 15 weeks
  • three participants applied for Victoria Police
  • one participant passed the exam before joining the program
  • two participants have booked their exam
  • five participants to submit their application
  • four participants require further assistance before applying (employment or study).

Round two is currently underway in Darebin and Hume, working within CALD communities:

  • 23 participants are enrolled in round two
  • one participant passed the exam before joining the program.
 Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Program Round 1 graduation

Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Program Round 1 graduation.