Demoralised police lured by promise of better life Down Under

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Demoralised police lured by promise of better life Down Under

The list of perks includes £47,000 starting salaries and free housing (Image: Getty)

Western Australia has issued a “come and join us” plea to fed-up officers pounding the UK’s increasingly lawless streets. The list of perks includes £47,000 starting salaries and free housing.

The recruitment drive has sparked a “phenomenal response” with 600 officers in touch in the first 48 hours. More than 200 have since submitted formal applications.

The Anglo-Australian recruitment drive is the latest blow to a UK police service reeling after a string of high-profile scandals amid historic battles over pay and conditions.

In a direct appeal Col Blanch, commissioner of the Western Australian Police Force, said: “As Europe heads towards the bitterly cold winter, and as the long sunny days return to Western Australia, I am calling for UK officers to join me.

“We’re poised to take your application. It’s a long way to travel but once you arrive I am confident you’ll settle in easily and quickly.”

The campaign to lure British ­officers, seen as the best in the world, includes fast-tracked Australian ­ citizenship and six weeks paid annual leave.

Those moving to the largest policing jurisdiction in the world have also been promised significantly less violence, particularly knife crime.

Jobs in Australia’s largest state – population 2.6 million – include frontline roles with officers handed a standard issue Glock 22 firearm.

Expats will also get free fitness facilities and the chance to enjoy a “vast variety of environments, ­communities, policing roles, styles and travel opportunities”.

And in a dig at the notoriously grim weather here, those behind the drive make clear Western Australia enjoys sunshine for nine months ­ ­­of the year with daily access to “spectacular coastal views and ­lifestyle – sun, sand and surf”.

The inducements are a world away from the grim reality of life as a British bobby.

Scores of former UK and Irish officers who have already taken the plunge are ready to help new recruits settle. They include Sergeant Andrew Dueman, who quit the Met in 2007 and is now helping to lead the campaign.

Applications have been received from those currently serving right across the British Isles.

But the desperate plea for officers to move Down Under shows that things may not be quite so rosy there. In July it was reported a record number had quit the Western Australian force, claiming mental fatigue and pressure on families.

In the past year 340 police officers left, with 60 quitting in June alone.

Mick Kelly, of the WA Police Union, said: “Our people have said enough’s enough, my mental health and family relationships are breaking down. They’ve left because of a ­culture of senior executives not ­caring for the workers and the ­members, so it’s quite disturbing.”

It is one of several industries facing staff shortages, with many lured into high-paying mining jobs because of an “absolutely booming economy” that has sparked “fluidity in the workforce”.

However, the recruitment campaign will worry those desperately trying to persuade a new ­generation of recruits to sign up ­in the UK.

The appeal prompted an immediate response from new Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.

He said his London force stood at a “significant moment in history” as he sought to restore shattered public trust and confidence. He urged ­people to sign up with his force, ­saying they could be “the difference the Met is aspiring to achieve”.

The Police Federation, representing rank-and-file officers, said it was little wonder heads were turned as its members struggle to survive on paltry pay and no thanks.

Seven in 10 PCs told a survey they are thinking of leaving. National chair Steve Hartshorn said: “It is unsurprising we are losing officers to forces across the world and it’s very easy to see why the grass is greener on the other side of the planet.

“Without a fair and substantial pay rise I fear more may be tempted to pack up and head Down Under.”

The Home Office did not respond for comment.

The benefits on offer in Western Australia:

  • Fast-tracked Australian citizenship with special visa arrangements
  • Transitional training of 13-weeks – at full pay of £47,000
  • Six weeks paid annual leave
  • Free housing for some posts
  • Free fitness facilities
  • Warm weather nine months of the year
  • Access to spectacular coastal views and lifestyle – sun, sand and surf
  • Less violent crime, particularly knife violence, and better protection for officers (firearms).

”Best decision I ever made…take the plunge”

Andrew Dueman moved his family 9,000 miles from London to Perth after becoming weary with his job and with Britain. The former Met officer took a punt Down Under and says it is the best decision ­he has ever made.

Andrew has been in Australia for almost ­­ 15 years and is now encouraging other UK coppers to do the same. Sgt Dueman, 52, said: “My motivation was to give my family a better quality of life, for them to experience things they wouldn’t ordinarily experience.

“London will always be my home but the bottom line is it’s a concrete jungle.

“I grew up in the East End and Forest Gate was my home. Unfortunately, it just started to deteriorate.”

Sgt Dueman joined the Met in 2003 and was based at Marylebone police station, but he left the force four years later. A key factor was the 7/7 bombings.

He said: “I couldn’t get on the Tube, so I walked from Forest Gate through Aldgate and Embankment. When I walked into the [police] station it was pandemonium. It was a really bad day. I saw seasoned colleagues crying.

“I later remember being at Paddington Green police station and seeing people protesting outside with real hatred in their eyes. It was then I thought ‘this is too much for me – I can’t be dealing with this’.”

He was told about an opening overseas at a leaving party and was “blown away” by the life on offer in Australia. He signed up immediately.

Sgt Dueman and wife Moira have sons aged 21, 17, 11 and eight, and a four-year-old daughter. They are all happy and loving life.

He said: “Policing is policing. We have vehicle theft, burglaries, domestic violence, missing persons and robberies. But this is about the quality of life.

“The weather is breathtaking…and I live 15 minutes from the beach. It was the best decision I ever made and I want fellow Brits to take the plunge.”

The appeal prompted an immediate response from new Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley

The appeal prompted an immediate response from new Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (Image: Getty)

Comment by Sir Mark Rowley – Met Police Commissioner

The Met is one of the most well-known and revered police services in the world with a reputation built on nearly two centuries of policing history, founded upon the principle of policing by consent.

We are at a significant moment in our history, a turning point, as we look to restore the public’s trust and confidence in the force to carry out policing and protect and serve on their behalf.

But this is an incredibly exciting time to be a police officer. To be part of a changing organisation, working together with London’s communities to bring more trust, less crime and high standards.

This job is often a tough one but it is one with vital purpose and a hugely important role to play in our society.

The career opportunities at the Met are vast and unrivalled in their scope and potential.

We are striving to establish the very best neighbourhood policing teams to fight crime in partnership with diverse communities.

And we are also developing our officers’ specialist skills in an array of areas including counter-terrorism, homicide and sexual offences.

Our mission for London is simple and clear – to return to getting the basics right.

We also want to honour the principles of policing the Met was founded upon: to renew policing by consent.

We have had nearly 10,000 new recruits join our ranks this year and now over 30 per cent of our officers are women.

Our new arrivals are determined to play their part in keeping London safe for those who live, work and visit here.

They will be supported by experienced colleagues who continue to drive us forwards in achieving our mission.

It is a challenging role but it is an immensely rewarding one.

When Sir Robert Peel established the Metropolitan Police in 1829 it was to “prevent crime and disorder” and was “dependent upon the public’s approval of the police’s actions”.

This aim remains as true today as it did then.

I would urge anyone who thinks they can make a positive difference to the Met and London, to find out more about joining our organisation.

You can be the difference the Met is aspiring to achieve.

What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode or visit InYourArea

Comment by Col Blanch – Commissioner for the Western Australian Police Force

As Europe heads towards the bitterly cold winter, and as the long sunny days return to Western Australia, I am calling for UK police officers to join me at the WA Police Force.

I count myself the luckiest police commissioner in the world because I have the privilege of serving a fabulous community spread across a spectacular state.

I’ve started my appeal to you with a reference to the weather, but the opportunities for policing across this state are as vast as its borders.

Western Australia is the single largest policing jurisdiction in the world. I lead officers who serve in communities near ancient rock formations in the Kimberley region, through to the tropical waters of the Coral Coast and the forests of the southwest.

A career with the WA Police Force is also diverse and officers can work in general and specialist roles at locations across the state. There are opportunities for career progression and on-the-job training.

Western Australia is the first Australian jurisdiction to secure a Labour Agreement to recruit officers and we’re poised to take your application.

My personal career in policing spans more than three decades.

I lived in Western Australia as a child and returned to this fantastic state after a career in law enforcement with state and Commonwealth policing agencies.

I personally have had the privilege of working alongside international law enforcement personnel, including UK officers and specifically the National Crime Agency.

I know first-hand the similarities between policing duties and the communities we serve in both Western Australia and the UK.

It’s a long way to travel but once you arrive, I am confident you’ll settle in easily.

I encourage you to visit the Let’s Join Forces website. There’s a team of former UK and Irish officers ready to support you through the application process.

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