The Queensland Police Service has cancelled one of its recruit training periods due to a lack of enrolments, raising questions about its ability to attract and retain staff.
- The Queensland government promised 1,450 new officers by 2025
- Police leaders insist there is still strong interest in joining the service
- A report into police culture in the state made 78 recommendations earlier this week
The intake was scheduled for December at the Oxley academy in Brisbane’s south.
Its cancellation comes as the service desperately tries to draw recruits — waiving entrance requirements and test fees — and address cultural issues highlighted in recent reports.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll maintained there was a strong “pipeline” of interest for the force, while Minister Mark Ryan insisted the government was on track to grow the service by 1,450 new police officers.
The lack of enrolments has been attributed to a symptom of the current climate as well as recent “challenges” faced by the service.
“It doesn’t matter the sector, the industry, the location — there is a challenge at the moment getting staff,” Mr Ryan said.
Commissioner Carroll added: “We’ve all got to admit the times are challenging at the moment.”
The cancellation comes amid a series of controversies surrounding the service, including, most recently, a report into its response to domestic violence, which revealed Queensland police inquiry report handed down.
“This report provides a big light on issues that need to change,” Mr Ryan said.
The report made 78 recommendations, including appointing 300 domestic violence support workers in police stations and 30 additional domestic violence liaison officers.
Shadow police minister Dale Last questioned where the staff would come from.
“There are lives dependent on these recommendations being implemented,” he said.
Commissioner Carroll said she was also “keeping an eye on” the service’s rising rate of attrition — the rate of staff leaving the service — which, she said, had risen from around 3 per cent to 5.5 per cent.
“It does change dramatically … it depends how many [new people] you’ve recruited, on the growth and on how many people are leaving for other jobs,” she said.
As one of its election promises, the government pledged to hire 2,025 more police personnel — including 1,450 officers — by 2025.
So far, 401 officers were hired from July 2020 to October 31, 2022, so the government still has more than 1,000 extra officer positions to fill.
Mr Ryan remained optimistic.
“It’s a tight labour market, but Queensland is well placed,” he said.
Commissioner Carroll pointed to waves of new recruits expected to graduate from the academy, including 72 today and 93 due to do so in February.
However, she made no guarantees about progress.
“I don’t think you should guarantee everything because I don’t know what the future holds,” she said.
“I am highly confident because of the pipeline [of interest] coming through, but we’ve got to admit the times are challenging at the moment.”