POLICE CHIEF’S A-GENDER OFF TARGET
POLICE Commissioner Ian Stewart has revealed the force is struggling to attract enough women – but said he would not drop standards to allow recruits who couldn’t do the job.
Mr Stewart, who last year issued a directive that 50 per cent of new recruits should be women, admitted it was getting “more difficult” to find suitable candidates.
The “physical nature of the organisation and the current way we are portrayed on the front line” affected the ability to recruit women, the top cop said.
“The 24-hour shifts and 365 days a year work all take a toll on people and particularly women, who are the primary raiser of families,” Mr Stewart said.
“If we don’t have enough (women apply) we won’t change the standard.”
POLICE Commissioner Ian Stewart says the service is struggling to attract enough women to maintain his 50-50 gender recruitment policy.
As 1000 delegates gather in Cairns for an international conference on women in policing, Mr Stewart insisted Queensland Police would not drop standards in its drive to recruit women.
The state’s top cop last year issued a directive for 50 per cent of new recruits to be women. Male officers outnumber women almost three to one.
Police figures show the service met the target, with 205 women and 194 men accepted into the recruitment program in the year to March.
“But it’s getting more difficult,” Mr Stewart said.
“If we don’t have enough we won’t change the standard and we’ll have more male applicants than women in a recruit program. I think that will happen at times.”
Police figures show 205 women and 194 men were accepted into the Queensland police recruitment program in the year to March. In 2014-15, there were 57 women recruits in training compared with 235 men; and only 73 of 327 officers sworn in were women.
At the start of this year there were 3131 female officers and 8680 male officers. There were no women deputy commissioners (out of three in total), one assistant commissioner (14 total), one chief superintendent (seven total), five superintendents (48 total), and 25 inspectors (262 total).
“Our promotions are based on people who can show merit. Again, we will not be changing our systems to promote people who don’t have the merit to do the job,” Mr Stewart said.
“It can actually have a negative effect on your organisation.”
The physical nature of the organisation and the current way police were portrayed on the front line affected the ability to recruit women, he said.
“The 24-hour shifts and 365 days a year work all take a toll on people and particularly women who are the primary raiser(s) of families. We need to provide flexible work arrangements for them to stay within the organisation and to balance work and their life responsibilities.”
Delegates from almost 60 countries are attending the women in policing conference and will today hold a “parade of nations” in their uniforms through the streets of Cairns.