Organisation: Department of Immigration and Border Protection
Job Title: APS5 Border Force Officer
Word Limit: 10,000Characters
In my role within Air Cargo Operations at Brisbane Airport, I am frequently required to handle
restricted and unlawful materials and substances and ensure that I do so with the utmost
professionalism and integrity. When determining whether to proceed in opening cargo, how to
respond to what I discover inside, and how I deal with information received, I follow all
Departmental processes, procedures, legislation and guidelines.
I display a commitment to continuous improvement and consistently seize opportunities to grow
my skills and knowledge and make greater contributions to my work with the Australian Border
Force. Demonstrating the personal courage that I display in my work, to ensure that the
environment in which my colleagues and I work is safe and free from preventable hazards, I must
frequently liaise with depot staff and management to request that cargo be positioned or sited in
a particular way. I am firm and direct, while at the same time remaining respectful and
professional. Another demonstration of my commitment to personal development is my
willingness to act in Level 2 positions when required, as frequently occurs in my current role.
As an experienced member of the workforce, I make strong efforts to mentor and develop others.
One of the ways that I have done this is through my role as a trainer in Detention and Search. In
this capacity I delivered training both in the form of a four-day initial course for new officers, and a
recertification course for colleagues. In these courses I share my knowledge and expertise to assist
others to develop and maintain their competency and currency of knowledge in the area of
Detention and Searches. Regarded as a subject matter expert in this field, my experience was
often called upon during my tenure as a Customs Officer at Brisbane Airport and I would be
requested to assist whenever there was uncertainty about how to proceed with the search of a
female traveller. On these occasions, as well as assisting with the situation at hand, I would share
information with my colleagues on site to promote their development in this area.
In my current work in the Air Cargo area, I act as a mentor to new and trainee officers. This
includes providing an intensive induction to the cargo environment for a one-day period, followed
by ongoing training over the following months where I invite these new colleagues to shadow me
as I conduct, demonstrate and explain the activities of Air Cargo Operations. Another way that I
develop others is through acting as a Level 2 Officer when required, ensuring that my team
members are equipped with the information, resources and skills necessary to perform their roles
and effectively manage the workflows of the day.
My role requires that I build and maintain strong professional relationships with external agencies
such as the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP). One way that
I nurture these positive relationships is through the sharing of expertise; for example, prior to
assisting the QPS with the execution of a warrant in 2015, I attended their premises to share my
specialist knowledge and provided them with training in the use of trace and substance detection
Shapes strategic thinking
I seek out opportunities to contribute to the wider Australian Border Force development of
competency and seize opportunities to nurture positive internal relationships. For example, in
some cases I have undertaken an x-ray of cargo and detected concealed substances, meaning that
I could simply move to trace and substance testing to identify the material. Rather than
immediately doing this however, I will notify the Detector Dog Unit of the situation so that they
can take the opportunity to provide training and experience for new dogs. This is an example of
my capacity to harness information and maximise opportunities. I utilise the sources of
information available to me to guide me in my work. For example, to assist me in deciding
whether to further investigate an item of cargo, I may contact the Intelligence Unit to enquire
whether any information is available about the sender or the consignee.
Supporting the purpose of the Australian Border Force, I act to share information with colleagues
and the wider organisation. For example, recently my team and I were making a high number of
finds of interest in the cargo from a particular flight which was not on our coverage list. Working
with our Team Leader and the Intelligence Unit, we collaboratively developed a profile for this
flight, broadening the capacity of the Australian Border Force to effectively target its resources.
Managerial, planning and continuous improvement
One of the most valuable resources that I have at my disposal in my work is my time, and the time
of my colleagues. With millions of items of cargo arriving in to the country, I need to continuously
apply my professional expertise in determining where to best direct my time and attention. Using
information such as flight profiles, intelligence received, coverage lists, prior experience, and my
understanding of organisational priorities, I will use sound judgement to determine whether to
examine a piece of cargo, and whether to proceed with more in-depth investigation depending on
the outcome of my initial inspection. Similarly, in my previous passenger-focused Customs role, I
utilised my training, expertise and available information to make decisions about where to direct
my attention and to identify cues such as body language or evasive responses to determine
whether I should invest more time in assessing or interviewing that particular passenger. In my
current work, I also identify and utilise resources from other departments, such as the Intelligence
Unit or the Detector Dog Unit, to assist in my decision-making and achievement of organisational
objectives. I am highly trained in the use of a range of physical resources to aid in detection of
items, including a wide range of substance and trace identification technologies, and select and
use these resources appropriately based on my training and expertise.
Actions that I take in my work that demonstrate my commitment to continuous improvement
include the work I contributed towards the development of a new flight profile when my
colleagues and I noted the frequency of significant finds on a new flight. Similarly, where I notice a
high number of interesting finds on a particular flight, I will approach my manager to suggest that
the flight be added to the current flight coverage list.
Consistently taking responsibility for managing work projects to achieve results, one of the
projects that I have taken responsibility for is the development of an in-school program to educate
students about prohibited importations and drug trafficking. This program has been designed to
further the Australian Border Force’s aim of increasing community awareness about importation
laws; currently this program is sitting at management level for approval.
Communicate with influence
I am a clear and effective communicator, able to liaise well with diverse groups of people.
Frequently requested to act in a Level 2 position, in this role I lead the team by clearly
communicating work priorities and information. In my previous passenger-facing role, I was often
required to liaise with passengers who were hostile, aggressive or uncooperative. It was common
for me to be called in, as a female officer, to handle the search or questioning of a customer who
was assessed as likely to become aggressive or irate. In these circumstances I used open and
persuasive communication to build rapport and defuse confrontational situations. Utilising
effective questioning techniques, I relied on my strong communication and active listening skills to
assess risks and gather information. Much of my success in these passenger interactions was a
result of my capacity to adapt my communication style to my audience, which aided in building
rapport and ensuring that I was clearly understood by the message recipient.
My work requires me to build and maintain cooperative and productive relationships with external
agencies such as the AFP and the QPS. When liaising with these agencies, I communicate in a clear
and concise manner to share and obtain information and ensure that organisational priorities are
understood. My written communication skills are called upon in the writing of statements relating
to finds that I have made; it is essential that these statements be thorough, accurate and clear, so
that they may be relied upon by enforcement agencies in pursuing legal processes such as
prosecutions of offenders.
Throughout my career in Customs roles, I have developed and maintained my knowledge of the
legislation, policy and guidelines relevant to my work through attending ongoing training activities
that build upon and update my knowledge. One example of this is the Office of Film and Literature
Classification training that I undergo to allow me to assess images and publications for
objectionability according to the relevant legislative standards. Similarly, I maintain knowledge of
intellectual property rights according to Australian legislation to allow me to identify material
which potentially breaches this legislation. My work is conducted in accordance with the current
policies and guidelines issued by the organisation to guide the processes that I undertake and the
priorities on which I focus.
Through my work I display a strong knowledge of organisational linkages, relying on and sharing
information with agencies such as the AFP, QPS and National Meter Identifier to assist in achieving
ABF aims. My work is guided by the stated priorities of the ABF through communication channels
such as coverage lists, flight profiles, policy pronouncements and training requirements.