New figures have revealed an alarming surge in the number of WA police officers seeking mental health support services amid record resignations last year.
Parliamentary questions have revealed that 3,327 police officers accessed mental health support services in 2022 – up from 777 in 2019.
Shadow Police Minister Peter Collier said the figures were alarming and indicative of significant issues throughout our police force.
“While I applaud those officers for seeking help, the significant increase in those suffering mental health issues speaks of wider cultural issues in the WA police force.”
In 2020, 1659 police officers accessed mental health support services and in 2021, 2619 officers sought assistance.
“Inevitably, there will have been hundreds of others that suffered in silence over the same period of time, yet we have a Police Minister with his hand in the sand over these issues,” Mr Collier said.
“Last year, 473 police officers resigned and there were almost 100 officers that retired.
“We know that many officers feel unsupported and burnt out, particularly in the regions where severe staffing issues mean there are currently 110 vacancies.
“Until the Minister acknowledges that many within the force are disillusioned and that their mass resignations are not ‘entirely attributable to the economy and other opportunities’, unfortunately the situation will not change.”
Mr Collier said police officers are dealing with complex and confronting situations daily and desperately need to be able to switch off and relax, a reasonable request within their current EBA negotiations.
“Unfortunately, the McGowan Labor Government won’t consider this reasonable request. Is it any wonder that our police are resigning in record numbers?
“Our police perform an extraordinary role throughout our community, and they need the respect that they richly deserve.
“Yet rather than prioritise initiatives to support and retain our frontline officers, the Police Minister was on the first plane overseas poaching officers from other countries. He’s completely out of touch with the issues on the ground in the force.”