Lauren Cuffe

Lauren Cuffe, 30 May, 2022

In her final year of studying Justice, Lauren Cuffe recently had the opportunity to fulfil her childhood dream of working in policing by undertaking a professional placement at Queensland Police Service (QPS).

Lauren, who is the Vice-President of the QUT Justice Society, worked as part of the Operational Assets and Equipment team to complete a research project focused on body-worn cameras.

She credits her placement at QPS as being a highlight of her studies.

Here she talks further about her experience.

Can you tell me about your professional placements while studying? Where was it and what did you enjoy about it?

In Semester 1 2022, I had the opportunity to complete my final year professional Justice work placement with the Queensland Police Service (QPS), Organisational Capability Command. I specifically worked as part of the Operational Assets and Equipment team to complete a research project focused on body-worn cameras. I really enjoyed getting to learn from senior police officers about operational equipment, organisational structure but most of all, meeting new inspiring mentors, hearing about their diverse career experiences and receiving great advice.

Why do you think placements are so important when studying Justice?

Work-integrated learning placement units give you the opportunity to put all the knowledge and theory you’ve learned so far in your studies, into practice. Although they can sometimes be outside of your comfort zone, placements are a great way to receive feedback, valuable advice and future career guidance from industry professionals. Work-integrated learning opportunities are an important reminder that particularly in Justice, you’re studying real-world issues which affect real people every day.

What did you get out of it?

My placement with the QPS Organisational Capability Command was a highlight of my four years at university. I was able to build my confidence in the workplace and develop key skills to effectively communicate (in-person, via email or using Microsoft Teams) in a professional and appropriate manner. I gained confidence in my own abilities and will be able to take the knowledge and advice I received from supportive mentors into my future endeavours.

Has your placement helped you decide the career path you want to take?

I’ve had a long-term interest since I was little to pursue a sworn policing career with the QPS. The opportunity to complete this placement confirmed my motivations and decision to pursue this career path.

What were some highlights?

On my first day of placement, we visited the QPS Armoury and Bob Atkinson Operational Capabilities Centre (BAOCC) out at Wacol. We got to observe some recruits on day 3 of their firearm training – which was a super interesting experience. I had the opportunity to be part of an online meeting with my placement supervisor and police officers from the Western Australia Police Force (WAPOL) which was a great opportunity to ask questions about their cross-jurisdictional experiences utilising body-worn cameras, which helped to inform part of my final placement project. I got to tag along to visit a few police stations and talk to many different police officers throughout my placement experience (from First Year Constables to Assistant Commissioners). Overall, I really enjoyed getting to know the QPS Operational Assets & Equipment team, whilst learning about operational equipment (including body-worn cameras, load bearing vests, batons, firearms and tasers).

What did you learn?

Through my time in the office, I was able to learn and see first-hand the work which goes in behind the scenes to ensure the QPS is equipped with innovative operational equipment for the future. I also learned how to apply the critical thinking, research and written skills I’d refined throughout my time at university to a policing context.

Did doing a placement influence your studies and future career choice?

Doing a placement was a reassuring experience to know that my studies were highly relevant and useful to a future career in policing.

What are your future goals?

Currently, my goal is to become a Police Recruit with the QPS and see what happens from there!

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Lauren Cuffe

Lauren Cuffe

Bachelor of Justice (Criminology & Policing)

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