LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The police annual report 2018/19 shows just 35 officers were added to the force, demonstrating the NT Labor Government’s failure on an appropriate recruitment program.
[Figures comparing officer numbers of 2015/16 with 2018/19 are senior sergeants 81.8 down to 79.5; sergeants 222.94 up to 228.79; constables 805.17 up to 839.93; total force 1412.18 up to 1537.23.]
While it’s pleasing to see a new recruit squad commence this week, it’s disappointing the government didn’t heed the association’s continuous warnings that the current program would see attrition outweigh recruitment.
The figures are largely masked by the boosting of the auxiliary ranks, but we remain concerned that the number of constables has reduced [in 2018/19], and alarmingly at the time of the report, absolutely no constables were in training.
Traditionally, the busy summer period is boosted by a graduating squad in December, and the community will not see that this year.
Last year the government had no plans for any constable recruit squads but now, less than 12 months out from the next Territory election, we see a large squad put through, which will not graduate until May of next year.
This mammoth double – squad is putting significant pressure on the Police College to deliver the training and has forced some postponement of internal courses in order to train the new recruits.
We would have preferred the squad be split into the usual 30 members to ease the burden on the college and provide a new squad for the summer period.
Attrition alone between now and then will see 30 officers separate from the force, so it will not be enough.
We just want the government to stop playing politics with our members.
Paul McCue (pictured)
Police Association President