PO­LICE CHIEF’S A-GEN­DER OFF TAR­GET

The Courier-Mail - - FRONT PAGE - EX­CLU­SIVE DAVID MUR­RAY

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.

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