Western Australian police shorthanded: Union Boss

The Western Australian (WA) Police Union has warned that the state’s police force is facing a serious shortage after more than 500 officers resigned or retired last year.

Washington State Police Union Acting President Paul Gale said on Jan. 16 that 465 sworn police officers resigned last year and another 97 retired, more than doubling in 2021.

This means that the state’s police force went from 7,112 to 6,893 in just one year.

“These numbers are terrifying. The total number of sworn officers has slipped,” Gale said. “Over 220 in the last 12 months. Disappointing, but don’t be surprised.”

The police union’s comments are in stark contrast to those of the police. Western Australian Governmentsaid in October 2022 that more officers are on the beat than when they took office.

“Western Australian Police has already recruited over 1,000 new officers in the last two years,” said Washington State Police Minister Paul Papalia. “We now have over 480 additional officers compared to when we took office.”

“There are more police on our streets than ever before. The McGowan government continues record police recruitment efforts and is committed to making WA safer for our community.” .”

Gale also argues that the reasons for the huge number of resignations were the strict leadership of the state police, low wages and conditions, lack of career opportunities, and cultural groupthink.

“I received email after email from police officers saying that they had resigned from the agency and that they listed a number of cultural and organizational issues that led to their decision.

Gale has also called on the Western Australian Police to release anonymous data from the ex-policeman’s exit interview, and called on the opposition to hold the McGovern Labor government accountable for the negligence.

The government is trying to solve the problem of overseas recruitment

The Washington state government is trying to deal with the resignation via overseas. Recruitment activity We are committed to hiring 950 offices by 2024 from police in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.

However, Gale warns that this is only a first aid measure.

“The union supports the government’s overseas recruitment efforts, but this is only a stopgap measure,” he said.

“It is only a matter of time before these recruits become permanent residents and familiarize themselves with the many cultural and organizational issues of the Washington State Police Department.”

Gale said the union will continue to push for an additional 2% raise on top of the recent 3% pay raise and bonus payments.

“3% is not good enough, so we keep looking for the 5% we asked for in the first place,” he said.

He said state police officers persevered during five years of financial restructuring and weathered the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been sitting, sticking to what they need, doing the work, going above and beyond…and expect to be rewarded for all that effort,” he said. said.

“Give what the McGowan government has this year and give them what they have is a slap in the face for our members.”

Greens call for stronger federal mental health support for police

Meanwhile, Greens, Washington Sen. Dorinda Cox, a former Washington state police officer, called on the federal government to provide more mental health support to the organization.

“As a former WA police officer, I understand the cultural issues within the organization, but I have also experienced the daily challenges, unrewarding work, and traumatic events of working on the front lines.

“Medical services are available to all members of the military, but we must ensure that the health of police officers is a priority. there must be.”

Cox is urging the federal government to follow the recommendations of the 2019 Senate Mental Health Study of First Responders. The research found that a national action plan on mental health for first responders needs to be implemented. This calls for the federal government to step up to provide mental health support to first responders across the country.

“The Commission recommends that mandatory first responder and administrator mental health awareness training, the establishment of a national register of health professionals specializing in first responder mental health, and early intervention mental health support services be implemented according to severity. We recommended making it available for the prevention or alleviation of mental health conditions,” she said.

“While blame-shifting will not reduce WA police turnover, understanding and treating the trauma officers bring home every day may be a productive first step.”

Victoria Kelly-Clark

Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australia-based reporter focusing on the national politics and geopolitical environment in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.