Working together to protect our future
 
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This being my first report and contribution to the Northern Territory Police News, I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to the NTPA President and Executive members for selecting me for the position of Southern Field Officer.

I do not take on this responsibility of protecting your entitlements lightly I would like to assure members that I am dedicated to providing timely and accurate industrial, welfare and legal support and assistance.

After a lot of study and practical application I am now more familiar with processes and entitlements than I ever had been as a sworn member. The scope of my job and
expectations are now clear. I very rarely need to use the once common response of Sorry can I get back to you with an answer. The more exposed I am, the more I learn and the less I have to bother my more experienced NTPA colleagues.

RETURNING TO THE FOLD

I had been separated from the NT Police Force for more than three years; isolated from the comings and goings; not up to date with changes in policy and governance; and generally, out of touch with the current state of play.

Coming back into the fold, I found that we still have the same distribution of the good the bad and the ugly& switched-on, apathetic, hard workers, comedians and the movers-and-shakers.

This diversity is all part of life; and part of any work environment. I dont believe any of us would be very happy working with a team of robots: free of humor, controversy or drama.

On returning; I found comfort in knowing that our laws, equipment, pay and conditions remain on par or exceeds that of other police jurisdictions. Whilst we have fought hard for many years to be suitably remunerated, we deserve everything we get.

During the early 90s, some would recall what happened after a three-year recruitment freeze. Money was tight; and there was no fat in any of the rosters: which impacted service delivery and operational safety. It was what it was; and in
the end, it worked itself out; and Im confident that whatever problems we may be having now, they are only temporary.

SUPPORT YOUR NTPA

Like many, I had never formed a strong opinion of the NTPA. I was happy knowing that should I fall off the perch, my family would receive immediate insurance; or if the proverbial hit the fan, I knew the NTPA had my back; and occasionally they
would come and visit and even provide a free feed.

In the early part of November last year, I was invited to observe a NTPA Executive Meeting, where I witnessed for the first time, NTPA Executive members in action. One of the guest speakers was Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Police the Hon. Nicole Manison MLA. I was impressed with her open and frank dialogue and the fact that she encouraged the hard questions to be asked and concerns raised.

I was immediately impressed by the professionalism, passion and dedication of our Executive they did not shy away from the Ministers invitation policy concerns, issues and ramifications were raised and robustly debated. I realised that the NTPA was much more than I had ever envisioned; and I must say that it is a privilege for me to be working alongside such dedicated professionals.

When times are tough - as they are now we have to face the reality of returning to budget and paying down the credit cards but we cant let the Change Managers use these financial realities as an excuse to do-away with the rule-book.

The NTPA is here to make sure that doesnt happen. Return to Budget doesnt mean we exclude words like respect, trust, integrity, communication, consultation,
transparency and accountability.

Return to Budget doesnt ignore, disregard, change or replace the current Consent Agreement.

When proper consultation and process is followed, there is always the opportunity for alternative proposals, or better ways of achieving the desired outcomes.

EMPATHY

As your Southern Field Officer, the biggest attribute I can offer is empathy.

Having spent 23 years as an Operational Police Officer working in Crime Command and Remote Policing in numerous bush stations; and regional and major centres I believe I have a lot to offer you, as members.

When I first left the college as a shiny, new Probationary Constable, theoretically I was prepared; however, the practical application was a different story like all new police officers, I needed attention in a lot of areas and found great help in my more experienced partners.

I have witnessed and have been involved in many difficult situations; and dangerous and traumatic incidents; I have been affected by poor decisions made by others; I have been on the wrong side of the disciplinary process; and had my fair share of being served; and dragged before directive interviews; and moved-on through disciplinary transfers.

As far as I was concerned the best line of defence was attack and I didnt hold back.

Be careful. Stay out of trouble. Dont say things or send barbed e-mails when youre angry they can and will be used against you.

Ive sat on the other side of the table too as the primary investigator in serious criminal allegations involving serving police officers I can tell you which side is better.

It doesnt take long to work out the operational side of the job; but you also have to learn not to over-think things or concern yourself with matters that you have no control over.

Take care of yourself and keep an eye out for your mates.

If you work in operational policing the first lesson you learn: is that not everyone respects the uniform; not everyone will like you; and that you better get used to it.

If youre in the job long enough, you will be assaulted and fictitious or not complaints are guaranteed.

If you have the misfortune of being a deep thinker with the tendency to keep turning over events in your head and overlaying them with what if and if only scenarios; there is a very high probability that a black dog will sneak up from behind and bite you.

Stress, mental health issues, workplace dynamics, assaults, alcohol, rostering, shift work, sleep deprivation, poor diet and traumatic events are some of the issues you will be faced with; none of them are conducive to a long life and need to be effectively managed.

With the appointment of Welfare Officers, the Peer Support Program, Chaplaincy Services, Mental Health First Aid Courses, and Well-being checks and the free self-help EQUIPT app welfare support for members has dramatically improved from where it was when I first joined.

If you need assistance or advice, or know of a colleague that needs help, please dont hesitate to contact me; I am available anytime day or night.