Cops quit for flexible work
WA’s Police Union claims good officers are quitting because they can’t get leave without pay or other flexible work arrangements.
The claim is supported by comments in exit surveys completed by officers who left the force in the first half of this year. Almost half the officers who completed the survey said they might have stayed if leavewithout-pay had been offered to them. One in four also cited a lack of flexible working arrangements.
“This has been an issue for a long period of time and we have lost some very good people because of the WA Police Force’s unwillingness to allow its employees to explore other opportunities. Just because an officer is going to travel or try a new job does not mean they should have to quit the force,” WA Police Union president George Tilbury said.
“Other organisations allow and promote leave for personal development. With the rigours of policing, this would enhance attraction and retention of good people who presently feel that they have no option but to resign.
“This inflexible approach does not align with the force’s propaganda that it promotes flexible family-friendly work practices. A parent who is also a police officer cannot take leave without pay to spend time with their child without first going through the rigmarole of applying to the Commissioner and proving extenuating circumstances exist.”
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said officers can apply for leave without pay.
“The WA Police Force is supportive of assisting its workforce to balance their family/ carer requirements through provision of leave without pay and other flexible working practices,” he said.
Some 85 officers who left the force from January 1 to June 30 — the equal lowest number for the first six months of a year (along with 2016) since 2004.
Of the 85, 21 completed exit surveys, which were obtained by The Sunday Times under Freedom of Information laws.
Nine of the 21 said they would consider working for WA Police again while 13 said they would recommend WA Police as an employer.
This year’s WA Police annual report acknowledged there were fewer resignations.
“As a result, attraction and retention strategies are now able to be more focused on diverse groups, such as culturally and linguistically diverse groups and Aboriginal people,” it stated.
Mr Dawson said the force was boosting representation of Aboriginal people through an Aboriginal cadet program and Aboriginal community relations officer positions.
“The former Aboriginal Police Liaison Officer Program has closed and the remaining Aboriginal liaison officers are the last officers from the program,” he said. “The WA Police Force is also in the initial stages of developing a new Aboriginal employment strategy.”
When the APLO program closed 66 of 136 officers transitioned to fully sworn.
This inflexible approach does not align with the force’s propaganda that it promotes flexible work practices. George Tilbury