President's Message April 2017

AWARD 2017 UPDATE

The current Police Award expires on 30 June 2017. All NSW Government agencies are bound by the State Government Legislated Wages Policy which applies a strict 2.5% wages cap on salaries, that is inclusive of superannuation contributions, with any increases above the 2.5% to come from employee-related savings.

We were exempt from that policy for 2011 only, which resulted in an arbitrated outcome of higher increases. Since 2014 we have been subject to the Wages Policy.

Your delegates to Conference in May 2016 directed that we do not accept any trade-offs to pay and conditions.

We have made significant gains over the years including an exemption to amendments to the workers’ compensation legislation, Death and Disability and the continuation of the subsidy for the FSS Default units of TPD insurance. Consistent with our longstanding approach, we want to maintain and improve what we have achieved.

Over 80 motions were received at Conference with many providing direction regarding the Award 2017 negotiations.

Your Association’s Executive considered them and prioritised the key areas for negotiation during the Award round.

This process identified that members want to be rewarded for the work they do, whether that be specialist skills, supervisors, front line shift workers and for those officers who work in hard-to-fill locations, improvement needs to be made to the transfer processes. Officers deserve to have a good work/life balance and to ensure they have sustainable careers and retirement options.

Your Association has now formally submitted its log of claims to the NSWPF and negotiations are commencing between the PANSW, the NSWPF and the NSW Government. We will continue to negotiate with the Government to improve members’ conditions and entitlements and modernise the Award.

The NSWPF have also indicated they wish to hold discussions around reengineering, the allocation of police resources and the possibility of an optional disengagement scheme.

We will continue to keep members updated as negotiations progress.

STAFFING ISSUES

In NSW over 550 officers are missing from frontline policing duties in the three metropolitan regions alone.

An agreement between the Region Commanders has stopped the advertising of vacant positions at those locations as a temporary solution to prevent the situation from getting worse, this has been occurring for over five years now.

Police have been doing amazing work to keep crime levels either falling or stable over the last 20 years, but this will not last forever.

Community-based policing has been at the forefront of NSWPF strategy for over 30 years. This strategy is in steady decline across the state due to the lack of Police Officers to respond to increasing calls for assistance from the public.

We have already seen this in the recent dispute at Camden, requiring the increase in policing strength by over 10 officers just to cope with their current workloads, not to mention that this

Command alone will continue to grow for the next 20 years. We are seeing workload stress starting to appear in many other locations across the state such as Fairfield, Wagga Wagga,

Blacktown, Mt Druitt, St Marys, Central, Hunter, Hunter Valley, Tweed/Byron, Manning Great Lakes, Tuggerah Lakes, Shoalhaven, Albury, The Hume, Monaro, Sydney City, St George, Leichhardt, Eastern Beaches, Dubbo, Tamworth and Broken Hill.

Police have become the 24/7 universal problem solvers in the communities they serve, frequently called to fill the gaps in the mental health and social services areas, whose resources are so stretched they can no longer provide a 24 hour response.

Police are routinely having to guard or transport prisoners on behalf of Corrective Services or juvenile justice.

In some incidents we have seen the closure of police stations and the loss of policing resources from rural and remote communities for hours at a time, placing those communities at increased risk, which is unacceptable.

NSW currently has a Police to public ratio of 1 police officer for every 464 people, the second worst in the country. (The Victorian Government recently announced an increase in Police numbers of 2,729 over the next four years.)

The NSW Government needs to immediately release the Workforce Allocation Model which was developed over 12 months ago, and apply it to every Local Area Command across the state.

All vacant General Duties positions across the state must be filled as a matter of priority so that we can adequately respond to community concerns. The government must commit to increasing the authorised Police strength so we can continue to drive down crime and protect the community we serve.

MORE POLICE FOR CAMDEN

Read about our recent win in securing 10 extra frontline police for Camden on this website https://pansw.org.au/media-centre/media-releases

 

Scott Weber

President

 

Media Centre

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