Awards are made by the Governor-General, on the nomination of the responsible minister in each state or territory, and at the federal level. The total number of awards for each police force each year must not exceed one APM for every 1,000, or part of 1,000, sworn members in the force. Recipients of the Australian Police Medal are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "APM".
The back of the medal is inscribed with the words ‘Australian Police Medal’ and ‘For Distinguished Service’. The inscriptions are encircled by a wreath of the national floral emblem, the golden wattle.
The 32 millimetre-wide ribbon features a central vertical stripe of dark blue flanked by two white stripes.
Knight/Dame of the Order of Australia (AK/AD) • / Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) • / Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) • / Member of the Order of Australia (AM) • / Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)