WA Police Minister denies detective ‘crisis’

POLICE Minister Liza Harvey has dismissed claims from the WA Police Union (WAPU) that the number of detective vacancies is too high.

Last Friday, WA Police advertised almost 50 detective vacancies.

WAPU president George Tilbury said some detective offices were carrying up to seven vacancies, placing added stress on the union’s members. “We have been telling WA Police until we are blue in the face that the detective vacancy issue is a serious problem and that changes need to be made to ensure the positions are filled,” Mr Tilbury said.

Ms Harvey said the claims were not backed up by evidence.

“I don’t believe it’s a crisis, the evidence is there are people lining up for the detective positions,” Ms Harvey said.

Ms Harvey said she was told by WA Police Acting Commissioner Gary Dreibergs that there were 160 detectives going through the bookwork to apply for the pool of detective vacancy positions so they could get in line for training.

“It is not a funding problem, we’ve funded the police for an additional 200 detectives which includes salaries, training (and) advertising for vacancies,” she said.

Ms Harvey said 58 new detective positions had been added since 2013.

“In the context of that, advertising for 50 vacancies is not necessarily unexpected,” she said.

Mr Tilbury said he implored the Police Commissioner to change the detective structure by having dedicated crime car detectives and reducing the amount of time spent relieving at district control centres.

“We strongly believe these two changes will make being a detective far more attractive than it currently is,” Mr Tilbury said.

“Action needs to be taken immediately before this issue gets worse.”

Ms Harvey said she expected the positions would be filled.

“We’ve had three detective schools go through this year and we’ve got 14 detectives graduating next Friday,” she said.