This month, Police News has a distinct election flavour.
Our election coverage includes includes a ‘Q & A’ with all police-associated candidates and a look at the key seats which could decide who forms government.
Closer to Election Day, we will send a newsletter to all Members which will clearly articulate the position of each major party in relation to the 22 Recommendations contained in our Pre-Election Submission.
On our website, we have a list of Sitting Members of Parliament who have refused to meet with us, to discuss our Pre-Election Submission. Clearly, these politicians do not believe law and order is a priority in their electorate.
At no stage will WAPU tell you who to vote for, as we are apolitical. What we will do is provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision, especially on matters that affect you as police officers.
Our two big ticket items are a tailored workers compensation style scheme for police officers who are medically retired and an additional 1,000 police officers over the next four years.
At our Annual Conference last year, the Labor Party committed to sitting down with us to work out a mutually beneficial scheme, if it was to win the election.
While the Liberal Party is set to introduce stock-standard workers compensation for police as one of its first acts, if it is returned. The answer is not simply a matter of just including police in the stock standard workers’ compensation scheme. If it was, then this important issue would have been resolved at some stage over the last 35 years.
The devil is always in the detail, which is clearly lacking on the Liberals part, and some of our concerns with their proposal are:
• Appropriate compensation for catastrophic injuries;
• No ability to seek alternative employment avenues in the public sector;
• No presumptive legislation for specified conditions such as PTSD;
• No retrospectivity for medically retired officers; and
• The absence of a 'no disadvantage test' to ensure that police officers are not worse off.
WAPU wants a compensation scheme for officers who suffer a work-related injury or illness which means they can no longer continue to be a police officer.
This scheme must include:
• A lump sum separation payment to cover loss of future earnings;
• A dignified departure process;
• Retraining or redeployment;
• Improvements to post service medical entitlements [being the Western Australia Police (Medical and Other Expenses for Former Officers) Scheme]; and
• This scheme must be introduced without removing any existing entitlements and is to be applied retrospectively and where this is not practical under legislation, the introduction of a system similar to Redress WA.
As I mentioned, we have waited 35 years for workers compensation, so we are not going to accept a complicated, confusing, sub-standard scheme. This is our best chance to right the wrongs of the past and I am committed to getting it right!
At the time of going to print, neither side had made a commitment in relation to police numbers however, the murmurings around 500 being the figure are grossly inadequate.
Forget what the Commissioner says about 500 officers and additional resources for other agencies being the answer. He is way off the mark, out of touch with community expectations and counting down the days until his retirement.
We have presented the facts, clear and simple. Only 1,000 additional police officers will return the police to population ratio to 2005 levels, provide the numbers on the frontline to curb crime and respond to the increasing number of callouts, as well as ensure police officers do not get burnt out due to unmanageable workloads.
I implore all sides of politics to listen to our concerns. We represent more than 6,500 police officers who are crying out for more help to tackle crime and it is vital that whoever wins government supports our call for more police on the beat.
So say “yes” to an additional 1,000 police officers, which is also jobs and growth!