Cops quit for flex­i­ble work

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - JOHN FLINT

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

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