TWENTY high school students had a taste of life in the police force during a work experience tour of Penrith police station on Wednesday.
The years 11 and 12 students came from schools in the Penrith, St Marys, Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains police local area commands.
"Penrith was chosen because we have everything here: police radio, a rifle range, forensics, police prosecutors and cells," Penrith police crime manager Detective Inspector Grant Healey said.
"This shows the students what to expect if they choose a police career; it gives them an insight into policing.
"This is also a great example of collaborative work between the four commands."
The schools — some public, some private — selected their students through assessment of their likely aptitude and physical fitness for the force.
Penrith police commander Brett McFadden said the tour was a great opportunity for the students.
"They're working through their options as they go through school and this shows them one more," Superintendent McFadden said.
"I would like to thank the youth liaison officers of each command for helping to set this up.
"Rather than confine the experience to one command all the students are getting the same."
Hawkesbury Senior Constable Natalie Haynes told the aspiring officers how to apply for the police force and, if successful, what to expect during their first year.
"The good thing about this job is that no day is ever the same," Senior Constable Haynes said.
The students also toured the different parts of the station and were particularly interested when an instructor explained how police weapons, including the sometimes-controversial Taser, worked.
It was made clear weapons were a last resort in police work and officers were as accountable as anyone for their misuse.