Australian Federal Police officers can cop plenty of abuse in the course of their duties, but it’s not everyday that you see the nation’s elite law enforcement agency publicly offer up the opportunity to get paid for giving them the kind of grief that might normally get you arrested and put before the courts.
In what appears to be a hands-on exercise to give its members a thicker skin when dealing with difficult situations overseas, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) is looking for a company to supply 15 role players to act out real life examples of situations faced by police officers during their off-shore missions as part of its pre-deployment training.
It could be a valuable opportunity for semi-employed or budding actors who might otherwise be pulling beers, waiting tables, or dressing up as Sponge Bob Square Pants in petrol station forecourts, especially if playing an antagonist from the Solomon Islands or Papua New Guinea before jumping into a helicopter sounds like an appealing option.
To meet the brief you don’t have to be well-versed in the acting theories of Stanislavski or Lee Strasberg; but you must demonstrate “a range of skills such as negotiation, cultural awareness and team work in response to situations they may encounter whilst on deployment” says the AFP.
According to tender documents, actors at the top of the AFP’s watchlist include both men and women, particularly those with Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian backgrounds, which should provide a clue as to where these scenarios are going to be played out for real: in countries such as Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Samoa and Tonga.
It also helps your prospects if you’re a bit outdoorsy (scuffed shoes and dirty, casual clothing positively encouraged), you’re not afraid of flying in a helicopter and you are happy to submit to criminal background checks and security assessments.
The fake missions will take place four times a year over three days in the (relatively) safe haven of the ACT, including at the International Deployment Group (IDG) base in Majura behing Canberra’s airport the sprawling parklands of the ACT.
There could also be an option for extra, mission-specific role playing or role playing with staff from another agency.
But the AFP will not measure the tender winning company’s performance on acclaim from bitchy theatre critics or standing ovations from audiences but instead will use: “participant feedback forms, lesson plans, agreed timeframes and quality of training”.
There are currently 400 IDG members on United Nations Missions deployed in Cyprus and international missions in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga, with much of their work dedicated to training up local police officers.
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