Police Minister Paul Papalia today used carefully handpicked statistics when asked by WA Liberal Leader, David Honey MLA, on the net decrease of WA Police Officers, to avoid facing his own government’s failures.
Dr Honey asked the Police Minister about figures he gave in Parliament on Tuesday, in which Minister Papalia suggested the net increase of Police officers between 2012 and 2016 is 95, when the actual net increase figure is 521.
This is compared to just 481 police officers added to the force between 2017 and 2022, since the McGowan Government came to power, which has since seen a net decline in the last 12 months.
When responding to Dr Honey’s supplementary question on record WA Police attrition rates, the Minister surprisingly said the morale of the WA Police force was “rightly very high”.
This contradicts the WA Police Union survey undertaken in March of this year, which found 64% of those surveyed found morale in the WA Police Force was poor, with the Police Minister saying it was not reflective of the wider WA Police force.
However, with today’s strike action being taken by the WA Police Union, morale does not appear to be high.
Dr Honey said Minister Papalia is living in an alternate universe if he believes WA Police are happy, while simultaneously striking due to poor morale and being underpaid.
“I don’t know how the Police Minister can justify those comments given today’s news.
“Under the previous State Liberal Government, WA Police were one of the highest paid in the nation.
“Now, police, like nurses and midwives, are on strike under WA Labor, the supposed worker’s party,” said Dr Honey.
Minister Papalia also said that the Police attrition rate is due to the WA economy’s opportunities, rather than the evident extremely low morale.
Shadow Police Minister, Peter Collier MLC, said Minister Papalia is avoiding the real issue.
“If the Police Minister genuinely feels that the hundreds of officers that are leaving the force every month are doing so for better opportunities, he is in complete denial.
“The fact is, there is a cultural issue within WA Police currently. They feel ignored, they feel undervalued, and they feel disillusioned.
“I completely endorse and support the Police Union’s ‘switch off program’ and increased penalty rates for over time.
“In addition, we desperately need to improve counselling services for our police officers who are facing more complex issues than ever in the history of the state,” said Mr Collier.