Fears new model is unsustainable

WA Police Union president George Tilbury.
WA Police Union president George Tilbury.

Her concerns follow the Western Australia Police Union’s (WAPU) report into the trial of the new model in the South-East Metropolitan District that raised several concerns.

Issues police officers raised were fatigue, inadequate meal breaks, understaffed shifts and lack of respite.

The new model includes four districts created by merging existing areas, including Central and East and North-West and West, together by the end of the year.

The larger districts will divide roles into response, local policing teams and investigations co-ordinated through a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week District Control Centre.

Ms Roberts said it was disturbing many officers felt the model was under staffed and under resourced.

‘This trial is only a short period of time and if people do this over the long term they’re going to end up potentially very fatigued with a poor diet,’ she said.

‘There’s plenty of evidence of an increase in depression and a whole range of issues for people who work night shifts generally, so if you have continual night shifts together with long hours, long commutes and insufficient time for your meal breaks, that would be a recipe for disaster.’

WAPU president George Tilbury said immediate changes were needed.

‘Most concerning to the union was the adverse impact on police officers working within response teams,’ he said.

‘The teams are grossly under resourced and under enormous pressure to get from job to job and deal with matters quickly, which is not good policing. My fear is if overworking continues we are likely to see an increase in fatigue and stress-related illnesses.’

Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said minor modifications had been made with further consultation with the union and officers continuing.

‘The trial in South-East Metro ran with less than 500 officers but the optimal police full-time equivalent numbers for each of the proposed four districts in the new model is 550,’ he said.

‘While the workforce is generally supportive of the changes, we will continue to talk to our staff to ensure roll-out of the model across the broader metro area will be well received.’