Working together to protect our future

"Safety First"

As we draw closer to the end of yet another year, it is pertinent to touch on one aspect of policing that is everyones responsibility. Safety.

I say this after our office has recently assisted too many members who have been subjected to assaults on duty. While general Work, Health and Safety principles place an onus on all of us, employer and employees alike, it continues to frustrate
this Association when, what would seem to be obvious high risks situations, continue to be ignored.

At this years conference, I made specific reference to the ongoing frustration of the refusal of the Commissioner to allocate time for productive consultation for policy development on the deployment of officers one-up. Placing our members in situations of high risk by working alone should be a thing of the past, and with regular contact from members on events, assaults and near misses, the evidence is building.

Of significant concern are the examples which have recently come into our office of members working Point of Sale Interventions (POSIs) and have requested urgent backup, only to have no vans available. This situation is unacceptable and I further remind the Commissioner of his Duty of Care obligation to provide an ongoing safe work environment for our members.

On that note, and despite our ongoing calls for government to provide a sustainable alcohol policy solution for the Northern Territory, our members continue to do an incredible job in the ongoing protection of our community. Whether that be at POSIs, in our remote areas, in the major centres on the front line, in crime or the many other sections within our organisation, it is a testament to the resilience and dedication of you all that despite the challenges, you continue to protect and serve to the best of your ability.

To state the obvious, rank and file have been through a lot in recent years. Ongoing change, uncertainty, and high profile public court cases have resulted in the spotlight being shone brightly on the Northern Territory Police. Despite this all, the role you all play in continuing to work through these challenges tells more about your values and integrity than much of what is being played out in public does.

Having recently attended the farewell of Senior Constable Keith Currie on a balmy night at the Bill Condon Club, it is officers such as Keith we should all listen to. The respect shown to Keith on that night and throughout his career was testament to the incredible work he has done, to mentor and guide countless members through the challenges of being a Police Officer.

When we talk of safety first, it is our mates, our colleagues and our families that we have to look out for. In the face of uncertainty and an organisation hellbent on promoting values led, we must continue to look out for each other, including our families.

As we look to a new year again, a year in which negotiations with a new government will take place for our next Consent Agreement, the safety of our members must never be forgotten. The profession that is policing is only getting more dangerous as country borders become obsolete in our technology driven world. The focus on officer safety must keep pace with these changes, there is no choice and there is no excuse for it not to.

Finally, thank you to the staff of the NTPA who continue to work hard for you, our members. I wish all members and their families a safe and happy Christmas and a prosperous 2017. Our thoughts are with those members who will be working over the festive season and particularly on Christmas Day to continue to keep out community safe.