Union calls on Govt to play fair with police

Union calls on Govt to play fair with police

The association was set up by David Nelson who retired with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after 20 years with the force.

The WA Police Union has joined the fight and the Labor party moved to support a workers’ compensation scheme at its State conference.

WA is the only state in Australia that does not offer a compensation scheme for police officers.

In the past five years, 13 medically retired officers were left without financial support, and about eight were retired for mental health reasons.

Union senior vice-president Brandon Shortland said a research project into PTSD was under way and would be finished by November.

He said it would provide recommendations for a fair system to be put to the State Government and WA Police at its annual conference in the same month.

‘With respect, the Commissioner of Police will not decide what system will fairly and adequately look after our members ” that will be done by Government,’ Mr Shortland said.

‘We expect that we will be consulted on any proposals in this area and our members will have a significant role to play in deciding if they are fair, reasonable and acceptable.’

Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said if a compensation scheme was introduced, extraordinary sick leave entitlements would have to be tightened up.

‘If we are going to move to a workers’ compensation scheme, it will require the union to agree to sick leave provisions being normalised to that available to other parts of the public sector,’ Mr O’Callaghan said.

‘It may also require the abandonment of non-work related medical benefits, which no other part of the public sector is entitled to.’

Police are entitled to 168 sick days each year.

A WA Police spokeswoman said ‘mental first aid’ was offered at the academy to all employees.

She said psychologists were available and officers who attended critical incidents were contacted.

‘Training is provided through the academy to recruits on stress management and responding to critical incidents to help build resilience and encourage early intervention.’