Australian police have stepped up their aggressive recruitment drive by sending top brass to the UK in a bid to poach fed-up British cops. Over the next week, a high-level delegation will trawl London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin persuading the disillusioned thin blue line to relocate Down Under.
Western Australia Police Force wants to recruit 750 international police officers over the next five years.
So far, it had received more than 1,000 expressions of interest and 866 official transfer applications from UK officers alone.
In a dig at the crisis engulfing forces here, Deputy Commissioner Kylie Whiteley said her officers enjoyed a “rewarding and diverse career and the strong support of the community”.
She told the Daily Express: “Western Australia is the single largest policing jurisdiction in the world.
“Officers provide policing services to communities located in remote areas characterised by ancient rock formations in the north, stunning forests in the south and thriving cities across the State.
“Officers also have fantastic opportunities to serve in general duties roles or specialise with highly trained tactical units, forensic areas or as detectives.
“We have seen a high level of interest from police officers in the UK and it has been great to meet face-to-face and hear about why they are keen to move and provide them with information about the opportunities on offer for them. Western Australia is a fantastic place to live and work.”
British cops have had heads turned by a list of eye-watering perks, including £47,000 starting salaries, free housing, fast-tracked Australian citizenship and six weeks paid leave.
The 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.
Those keen to move to the largest policing jurisdiction in the world have also been attracted by significantly less violence, particularly knife crime.
Jobs in Australia’s largest state – population 2.6 million – include frontline roles, while many are civilianised in the UK, like forensics.
Expat cops also get free fitness facilities and the chance to enjoy a “vast variety of environments, communities, policing roles, styles and travel opportunities”.
As this newspaper exclusively revealed last month, applications have been received from those currently serving with forces across England and Wales, Police Scotland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Republic’s Garda.
The campaign has rocked those desperately trying to persuade a new generation of recruits to sign up with forces here.
And the exodus has reignited debate over poor public sector pay and conditions as Britain reels from the worst strikes in a generation.
The organisation representing rank-and-file cops said it was little wonder heads were being turned as its members struggled to survive on paltry pay and no thanks.
A survey shows one in five British police officers plans to hand in their resignation as soon as possible due to reasons including unfair pay.
Police Federation of England and Wales National Chair Steve Hartshorn said: “Police officers are reaching breaking point and are leaving the service in their droves as every element of their pay and conditions has been gradually eroded in the space of a decade.
“Record numbers are resigning over inadequate pay and conditions. We are losing some exceptional officers simply because they cannot afford to stay in the service, with an alarming number unable to afford monthly essentials.”
The Western Australian government wants to go further in its public sector pillaging and recruit up to 30,000 British doctors, teachers, care workers, dentists and builders.
Former Met Police officer Andrew Dueman said moving his family 9,000 miles from London was the best decision he ever made.
Father-of-five Sgt Dueman, 52, left in 2007 and now lives in Perth with Moira, his wife of 23 years, and their children, boys aged 21, 17, 11 and eight, and a four-year-old daughter.
He said: “I am not going to gloss over it, 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. Perth has a climate only California can dream of 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.”
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