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To protect, to rehabilitate and to serve

Drug Detection Officer (DDO)

Drug Detection OfficerThe Drug Detection Unit (DDU) contributes to the safe, secure and efficient operation of custodial facilities by utilising detection dogs and other technologies to detect and prevent drugs and other contraband coming into prisons and detention centres.

Services include:

  • Provision of an effective and accessible drug detection service across the Department (Corrective Services) that assists in minimising the trafficking of illicit substances and prohibited devices; and
  • Establishment and maintenance of effective relationships with all internal and external stakeholders to allow for timely and effective intervention that enables the Department to efficiently meet its obligations under the current drug strategy.

The DDU is based in the Perth Metropolitan Area at the Hakea Prison Complex but can provide mobile services within Western Australia. The DDU also maintains dedicated teams at certain regional prisons.

The role

The Drug Detection Officer (DDO) is responsible for:

  • Conducting searches of individuals, environments and property within the Department of Justice (DOJ) Corrective Services estate through the use of detection dogs or other drug detection technology
  • Responsibility for the full care, fitness and welfare of a detection dog during its working life including the provision of a healthy and secure property/home environment
  • Responsibility for the operational effectiveness and ongoing maintenance of their detection dog
  • Conducting staff drug and alcohol testing
  • Conducting ongoing trials and research of drug detection technology.

What it takes

DDOs exemplify behaviours which demonstrate respect, integrity, good judgement, self-discipline and initiative.

DDOs are able to work effectively as team members, respond to directions and instructions, while building positive working relationships. Being able to operate within a structured environment with limited supervision.

Working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, DDOs are able to recognise, respect and work with gender, social and cultural differences, including with Aboriginal people, in support of that, highly developed communication skills are essential for a DDO.

Physical health and fitness

DDOs are required to maintain their own health and fitness and that of the detection dog allocated to them. DDOs may be required to bend and change directions without notice whilst moving briskly depending on the actions of the dog under their control. They are also required to be able to lift items of up to 25 kg, for example, an injured dog into a vehicle, electronic drug detection devices or bags of dog food.

A fitness assessment is conducted as part of the recruitment process and then bi annually throughout the DDOs career.

DDOs are provided with gym clothing and time is allocated whilst on duty for health fitness training.

The benefits

The current commencement salary for a DDO is $87,881 per annum, with increments up to $96,045 per annum. Employer contribution to superannuation is an additional 9.50%.

An additional allowance specific to DDOs, to the value of 10.5% of the officer’s annualised salary also applies for the feeding, home kenneling, transportation and safety and security of the allocated detection dog.

Flexible working conditions / Shift work

DDOs typically work 10 hour day shifts which includes alternate weekends and public holidays, on occasions DDOs may be required to work outside of these hours due to operational requirements. Rosters are prepared and posted several weeks in advance. There is a requirement for intrastate travel by airplane with or without a dog.

Generous leave entitlements

  • 6 weeks of annual leave
  • Personal leave
  • Parental leave (paid and unpaid)
  • Purchased leave (ability to purchase additional annual leave on a pro-rata basis)
  • Long service leave upon completion of 7 years continuous service

Other benefits

  • Uniform supplied (including boots, socks, jackets and hats and gym equipment)
  • Job security
  • Promotional and career development opportunities

A rewarding and challenging career.


To be eligible for employment as a DDO, you must:

  • Be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or have permanent residency status within Australia
  • Possess a valid C-Class driver’s license
  • Possess a “Provide First Aid” qualification, which at the time of appointment must have 9 months validity remaining
  • Obtain clearance through the Department’s criminal history and integrity screening assessment process.

Recruitment and selection process

The DDU recruit on an as-needed basis and advertise on and the Department of Justice website.

The DDU selection process is very competitive and is typically conducted over a series of stages. This includes a number of assessments tailored to assess your skills, knowledge, experience and abilities in the context of the DDO role, including:

  • Written application
  • Psychometric testing
  • Physical fitness tests
  • Dog affinity test
  • Interview
  • Medical and psychological assessments
  • Reference checks, criminal history and integrity screening.


If you are successful and selected to fill a vacancy, you will initially commence your training and employment as a Probationary DDO for a period of 9 months. Commencing at the DDU at the Hakea Prison Complex, you will complete a 10-week Basic Detector Dog Course. Then followed by a 3 week Essential Training Program at the Corrective Services Training Academy which will provide you with the fundamental skills to safely work in a custodial facility. You will also complete nationally recognised training in detecting drugs of abuse in body samples. Following initial training you will undergo approximately 8 weeks of operational transition and familiarisation. On completion you will be deemed a fully operational DDO.

Training and maintenance of the DDU teams (DDO and dog) skills is a daily occurrence and all teams are required to participate in bi annual assessments to demonstrate competency.

Contact us

For further information about the DDU, please contact DoJ Recruitment:

  • Email:
  • Phone: 1800 974 199

For a list of other positions being advertised, refer to the Department's current vacancies

Page last updated: 11-Feb-2020