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Cutting Staff Doesn’t Make Work Go Away

Media Release

For Immediate Release
18 May 2012

Cutting Staff Doesn’t Make Work Go Away

Police Association President Greg O’Connor reacted with dismay to the Commissioner’s announcement today that non-sworn support staff would be cut from Police as part of efforts to meet savings targets over the next year. These new targets follow savings demands of 5% at District level and 15% at Headquarters level last year, and are necessary because a government freeze on the Police budget means the organisation must absorb the impact of inflation on its costs.

“Cutting positions doesn’t make the work go away – it just means someone else has to do it,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Other public departments may be able to deal with budget cuts by cutting ‘non-essential’ services. As a public safety department, that’s not an option for Police. Cutting support staff can only increase the workload and pressure on sworn constabulary police. When you overload people, and don’t give them adequate support, that’s when things start to fall through the cracks and ultimately the public suffers.

“Of course every department is having to make cuts and everybody understands that. But while failures due to budget pressures in other public services may take a long time to manifest, service failures in police can have very serious consequences, and those consequences are often immediate and very public.

“We have seen the impact of budget squeezes like this before, in the late 1990s. Those led to high profile failures including un-investigated child abuse files, a disastrously slow response to the P epidemic, and the tragic disappearance of Iraena Asher. It is unfortunate that the government appears willing to risk allowing history to repeat itself.

“Investment over the last six years means Police is now in the best shape it has been for decades. The public is seeing the benefit in falling crime and falling fear of crime. Cuts to the very resources that have made that possible can only mean we start going backwards,” Mr O’Connor said.

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