In the United States, the police officer salary stands at $50,074 per year. In Canada, the median salary stands at C$71,618 ($55,558 USD), while in the United Kingdom it barely stands at £30,960 ($39,876 USD), and AU$69,475 ($52,950 USD) in Australia.
Police officers in Switzerland are paid CHF82,200 ($84,987 USD) annually. For police constables in Norway, the police officer salary is NOK514,800 ($61,721 USD) per year.
Police Officer Salary Influencers
Salaries of police officers depend on their employment sector, performance, longevity, and location of work. Within these countries, promotion or specialization often drive higher pay.
Police officers work predominately in government. Consequently, budget and policies set general guidelines for the pay of these professionals. These guidelines often consider rank and experience in salaries. To encourage officers to work longer than regular hours and take irregular shifts, police agencies offer overtime, bonuses, and other incentives. Advancing in rank and seniority can improve pay prospects.
Budgetary constraints may also limit potential salaries for police officers
2. Geographical Area
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Police Officer Salary in the US
The police officer salary in the US stands at $50,074 according to Payscale. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers earn about $61,270 per year. At least three-fourths have salaries above $76,160 and the top ten percent of earners make above $96,110 per year.
Police Officer Salary in Canada
The median salary for a police officer in Canada is C$71,618 per year. Pay ranges between C$39,075 and C$97,679 per year. While in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, entry-level constables have salaries of C$50,674 per year. Within three years, pay increases to C$82,109.
Police Officer Salary in the UK
In the United Kingdom, starting officers, called constables, earn between £20,000 and £23,000 annually. At the police sergeant or experienced level, pay runs between £38,000 and £43,000 per year. While highly experienced officers, known as police inspectors, make at least £50,000 annually.
Police Officer Salary in Australia
PayScale reports that police officers in Australia make AU$69,475 per year in earnings. While salaries run between AU$48,721 and AU$99,787 annually.
Police Officer Salary in Switzerland
In Switzerland, police officers earn from CHF78,000 to CHF86,400 per year, or CHF6,500 to CHF7,200 monthly. The median salary is CHF82,200 per year, which translates to CHF6,850 per month.
Police Officer Salary in Norway
According to Statistics Norway, the salary for a “Politibetjent,” or a police constable, is NOK42,900 per month. This equates to annual pay of NOK514,800. A “Politifullmektig,” or a junior police prosecutor, makes NOK42,500, or NOK510,000 per year. While pay for sergeants stands at NOK49,100 monthly, or NOK589,200 annually.
Prospective officers undergo training in a police academy or similar regimen. The curriculum typically covers patrols, police ethics, laws on investigation, interrogation and arrests; and the elements of particular crimes. Policing techniques are also covered. In certain jurisdictions and with certain forces, trainees obtain pay. For example, recruits in the Australian Federal Police force receive AU$56,398 for 24 months as live-in trainees. Upon graduation, pay jumps to AU$58,518 per year.
For those not eligible to enter policing, mainly because of age, experience is obtained through junior police academies or cadet programs. Other officer candidates may bring experience from the military. In Switzerland, prospective officers apply for work first, then attend police college upon hiring. Generally, upon graduation, Swiss police officers must work two to three years with the force that hired them.
As officers accumulate experience and performance, they can achieve promotions to various ranks. With the promotions usually come higher salaries or, especially in larger police departments, opportunities to become detectives or work with juveniles.
Typical work weeks for police officers are full-time. Most of them though, spend considerable time away from precinct headquarters. Officers patrol via vehicle or foot for many hours. In the United States, officers in sheriffs’ departments may serve lawsuits and court papers in addition to patrolling. Detectives examine crime scenes and may travel to interview actual and potential witnesses. On certain days, officers testify in court as to their investigations, eyewitness accounts or statements of suspects or criminal defendants.
Shifts for police officers can run evenings, nights, pre-dawn hours or weekends. Events with large gatherings, emergencies and severe weather incidents may require officers to work extended hours. Police officers may have vacations or time-off interrupted during these events.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
Willingness to work irregular shifts can yield bonuses for police officers. In fact, those in the Australian Federal Police can fetch AU$8.00 per hour for each hour worked between midnight and 6 am. Allowances and incentives may also exist for being on-call. Moreover, police officers often get overtime pay. Statistics Norway says constable-level officers may NOK500 per month, or NOK6,000 annually, in overtime. For sergeants, overtime pay was up to NOK2,800 per month, or NOK33,600 per year.
As government sector employees, police officers have their pension benefits determined by government bodies. In certain police agencies, labor unions may represent the officers and also negotiate with the government agency or body on salaries, pension, and other employment benefits. Depending on the police department or agency, officers must log a certain number of years of service to qualify for pensions. Pay, rank, and cost of living adjustments factor into the amounts of pensions.
The prospects for employment as a police officer vary by region. As police officers are predominately employed in government, budgetary considerations will drive the number of available positions and pay. For instance, funding for officers to address concerns over crime and security may lead to more hiring. Larger, more populous cities and areas will have more job opportunities due to the greater demand for police officers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of police officers is projected to grow four percent through 2024. This translates to 33,100 new openings. Similarly, patrol officers will constitute the vast majority of the new hires, at 34,200. In fact, the BLS predicts 1,400 fewer positions for detectives by 2024. In Australia, job openings through November 2019 should number between 25,001 and 50,000. Canadian Business reports that there are 1.14 police officer job openings for each searcher.
All in all, performance and longevity of service contribute to police officers advancing in rank. Additionally, promotions often lead to higher pay for police officers. With population driving the need for police, job prospects should prove strong especially in more urban areas. In case you are also curious about the salaries in related professions, read about the firefighter salary.