WA Labor Government’s election pledge for 950 extra police officers a pipedream

The latest WA Police figures unveiled in parliament today show the WA Labor Government’s election pledge for an extra 950 police officers above attrition by 2024 is nothing more than a pipedream.

Shadow Police Minister Peter Collier said the responsibility for the failed election promise lies at the feet of the police minister who has failed to acknowledge or address the cultural issues within the force driving an exodus of resignations.

“It is no surprise that the latest figures revealed through questions in parliament show the WA Police Force head count is currently 7024, more than 500 officers short of their own goal of 7587 by June 30th 2024, making the government’s election pledge farcical,” Mr Collier said.

“The Minister for Police needs to acknowledge what every other single person in policing in WA has been saying for the past three years – that we have a serious cultural problem in our police force and this has led to record resignations.

“In the last two years we have had more than 1000 officers leave the force, including 570 (473 resignations and 97 retirements) in 2022 alone – the highest in the WA Police Force’s 189-year history.

“Last year, 403 resigned and 78 retired – with the number of graduates falling well short of attrition over those two years.”

Mr Collier said the Minister had been living in a fool’s paradise all of this time.

“This is a classic case of Nero fiddling while Rome burns. He has been too busy securing media shots of himself holding guns to concern himself about the endemic cultural issues that have consumed our police force,” Mr Collier said.

“While more than a thousand officers have walked away in the past two years, the Minister has shown his ignorance of the substantive issue of their disillusionment.

“He has consistently espoused the notion that exodus was ‘entirely attributable to the economy and other opportunities’.

“This shows just how out of touch he is in his own portfolio. Quite frankly, he has spent too much time with his political advisers in Duma House instead of listening to the genuine concerns of our police officers.

“This head in the sand mentality of the Minister is extremely frustrating and disappointing.

“The end result of this ignorance is that well over a thousand disillusioned officers have walked away and, as a result, crime on our streets has skyrocketed across the state.”