This particular client applied for the role of Senior Investigator in the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS)* and was successful in progressing through to the job interview stage. The selection criteria component was lengthy and required addressing six criteria at a maximum of 500 words each. Following are part excerpts from three of the criteria.

Managerial and Planning

As Detective Sergeant and relieving Commander of XXX in the YY Police Force, I was responsible for managing entire XXX operations. To undertake this effectively, I reviewed all aspects of the day-to-day running of the unit via an appropriate evaluation process. I compared my findings to the goals of the unit to determine barriers, challenges, costs, benefits and risks of our current situation against the competing needs of the unit. In doing so, I identified the training program (conducted externally at the time) was causing a severe drain on resources which impacted (adversely) on completion of investigations within the unit, and that staff were taking unacceptable risks in performing their duties. Therefore, I determined a training plan needed to be formulated and implemented. I conducted a team meeting where I gained information from staff by encouraging each member to provide input. I allocated tasks to team members to seek feedback on addressing this issue. I promoted a training plan to staff and sought feedback. I drafted a proposal to XXX Command for the provision of more in-depth training to relevant team members to allow the provision of in-house training within XXX. All this aligned with the objective of achieving team goals, managing the ongoing changing demands of the unit, and organising the unit in a more efficient manner to focus on strengths whilst meeting organisations goals. I presented this proposal to XXX Command where I influenced senior management that XXX be treated differently to the rest of YY Police Force by conducting the majority of training in-house versus externally. I successfully negotiated a 12-month performance-reviewed training plan. Thereafter, I implemented the training plan within the unit which was so successful that I was instructed to implement guidelines and training plans for similar units within the entire YY Police Force across the state.


To facilitate a well-run team, I assess team members’ strengths and weaknesses and encourage their ideas and input in order to successfully complete an investigation. This was a particularly useful strategy I applied on a complex investigation comprising many team members with varied backgrounds, experience, skills and abilities who came together to fulfill a large list of duties within a short timeframe. I actively participated with team members to identify the best use of their skills and I facilitated and encouraged the team to talk through the needs and direction of the investigation. I also contributed my ideas and solutions to the team and encouraged members to take on different roles to expand their knowledge base. Overall, during investigations whilst working collaboratively with team members, I facilitated a supportive and participative culture by recognising aspects of the job that team members performed well in, and by establishing a referral service where staff had the opportunity to approach other team members for assistance in areas where they required improvements. On one investigation, I identified a team member struggling with report writing but had exceptional skills in statement taking. I referred staff to her requiring assistance in taking statements, and provided her with names of staff members with strong report writing skills so she could seek guidance and improve in this area. As a result, this team member felt she was a highly valued member of the team; furthermore, the team’s capabilities increased as a whole through the sharing of knowledge.


As the Senior Investigator during an investigation into drug supply in South Western Sydney, a primary line of inquiry emerged relating to the importation of prescribed restricted substances (steroids) and prohibited drugs being imported from international destinations by couriers and postage deliveries. With an international cross border aspect, I established the need to liaise with ACBPS and conduct a collaborative approach to the investigation. Through previous investigations, I was aware of the same target (in which ACBPS previously had investigated) relating to similar allegations. In conducting the investigation, I applied knowledge of a core role of ACBPS in the prevention and detection of the entry of prohibited goods into Australia. Also, I understood the ACBPS operating environment and their capabilities such as specialist equipment to detect drugs, access to specific data, intelligence and information of travel records. Through chain of command requests, I requested a joint investigation between the NSW Police Force and ACBPS. This request was granted and I gained assistance with required resources and equipment. Although not a full joint operation, the collaboration between partner agencies was pivotal in the successful identification of courier methodologies, quantities and types and point of origin of the substances being imported, and amounts of Australian currency removed and returned through Australian borders, namely Sydney. The operation was successfully resolved with joint warrants ACBPS conducted along with accompanying successful prosecution of offenders.

*Note: A new Commonwealth department/agency (Australian Border Force) was established in July 2015 after the merger of ACBPS and several parts of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

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