Revelations that the number of police officers in the WA Police Force has gone backwards since the McGowan Government’s election pledge to add an extra 950 officers are an embarrassment for the Police Minister.
In June 2020 there were 6637 officers and in Budget Estimates last night it was revealed there are now 6619.
“In 2021, the McGowan Government promised to grow the police force by 950 officers by 2024 but two years on and the numbers have actually gone backwards under the Police Minister’s watch,” Shadow Police Minister Peter Collier said.
Mr Collier said 473 police officers left the force last year alone, the highest on record, pointing to some significant issues within the force around burnout and culture.
‘The Minister’s response to these figures is typically ignorant of the facts. The record resignations of police cannot be flippantly attributed to ‘a buoyant economy’ as the Minister constantly attests,” Mr Collier said.
“The reality of the situation is that we have a serious cultural issue that is permeating our police force.
“There are now less police on our streets than there were three years ago which is impacting community safety and is further indication that the Labor government’s claims of increasing the force by 950 by 2024 is sheer folly.
“Running off on junkets to England to poach their bobbies will not solve the problem.
“In addition, providing contradicting figures to the parliament only serves to reinforce the fact that the Labor government must be embarrassed by the decline in numbers.
“The Minister needs to spend less time concocting excuses for this situation and more time listening to the legitimate concerns of police officers if he genuinely wants to turn this situation around.”
Mr Collier also pointed to the multitude of different answers on police force figures provided to Parliament.
“Providing contradicting figures to the parliament only serves to reinforce the fact that the Labor government must be embarrassed by the decline in numbers,” Mr Collier said.