Your Police Radio delegates and PSA staff today, Thursday 30 July 2020, met with Assistant Commissioner Kyle Stewart to discuss concerns raised by the PSA in a recent letter to the Police Commissioner regarding staffing problems. The meeting was positive and we received a fair hearing.
The PSA raised a number of issues and they included:
Staffing levels, including for known crisis events
Mr Stewart said he was not able to commit to the PSA’s request for baseline service delivery and workload management rostering. Channel merging and working channels alpha would have to continue. The PSA was invited to do an inspection and receive a briefing regarding Real Time Management, which we agreed to.
Mr Stewart said ROG’s response during the bushfire crisis had been properly supported, but was aware that a number of staff had been injured.
The PSA was advised that management had reviewed the problems which came to light and there was a determination to step in more vigorously in future emergencies to ensure proper staffing and support. Mr Stewart noted the PSA’s request that Police maintain PoliceLink’s capacity to deal with all TZ calls in an emergency.
Mr Stewart acknowledged that some recent VKG classes had unacceptably low completion rates; he expressed the hope that the current course with the extended consolidation phase would be more successful and stated that greater efforts would be made to get current trainees through the course. We understand that further discussions have been held with the recruitment firm regarding the desired applicant profile, including additional incentives, and there were reasons to believe future recruits would have a greater chance of successfully qualifying.
Volume of TZ calls
Mr Stewart acknowledged that the workload of radio operators needed to take into account fatigue and should not be driven by unregulated demand on their reserves of energy, including TZ calls and agreed that replacing some of the TZ workload with work from the digital portals which did not have to be done in real time – such as entering jobs from the community portal – could assist in balancing operator workload.
The PSA raised problems with fatigue in the rosters of variable full-time staff and the issue of emerging gaps in the 24/7 coverage provided by the matrix roster.
Mr Stewart stated we need to have a stable roster cycle taking into account proper fatigue management and he emphasised his view that 12 hour shifts were not the answer to the problem. It was agreed to urgently constitute a working party on VFT staff rosters.