Late last week, the PSA was advised that the Administrative Restructure for Police Districts that members had been briefed about on Wednesday, 5 February, was no longer going ahead. All members have been advised accordingly through their Commands.
This is a welcome relief for many Districts that were facing staffing cuts and/or downgrading of positions. However, the PSA continues to have strong concerns about workload and understaffing in various Police Districts.
Before the proposed restructure was ceased, the PSA received strong feedback from members across the state that will continue to inform the union’s position on any future changes, including:
- It was unfair and unnecessary to require the successful applicant for a role to move to the District Office. Given the technology utilised in Police Districts, there was no case presented as to why members would be required to move hundreds of kilometres to another country town in order to keep their jobs. Many reported this would have required them to choose between a job and caring for their elderly parents or pulling their children out of the local school. This requirement was notably deemed unnecessary by many District Commanders.
- This decision also represented a lack of understanding of work practices in Police Districts and a lack of care for the employment prospects of displaced members in regional towns, many of which have had to deal with recent hardship through fire and drought. Job cuts in one town affect an entire community, even if those jobs are put on in another town.
- Having to drive over an hour to work with the hazards of country roads, like kangaroos and trucks on single carriageways, is not the same as a one-hour commute in the city.
- If a decision was made that the successful applicant had to move towns, financial assistance should have been offered to those wishing to relocate.
- If a decision was made that the successful applicant had to move towns, voluntary redundancies (VRs) should have been offered up front to those unwilling to relocate such distances.
- Members have already dealt with significant change and uncertainty through the Re-engineering process and feel like their concerns have not been listened to. Effective administrative staffing models should have been adequately consulted on with local managers and staff and implemented in one restructure as part of Re-engineering.
- Many Police Districts have received no additional administrative staffing since taking on functions assisting with Traffic and Highway Patrol located in their District.
- The authorised strength of Police Districts has increased significantly over time and particularly large increases are expected over the next four years. These should come with requisite increases in administrative staffing. It is not clear why this should be “cost neutral”.
- The mooted restructure demonstrated that NSW Police has identified and accepted that there is clear understaffing of administrative functions in certain Police Districts. These Districts require staffing increases to accommodate workloads in a way that protects the workplace health and safety of members.
The PSA thanks members who provided feedback and will continue to advocate on the above issues through any future changes should they be forthcoming.
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