Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman. Dan Peled

Commissioner Stewart says he will find ways to cut cops

UPDATE: QUEENSLAND'S top cop is prepared to wait until senior police reach retirement age if he cannot force redundancies.

But Police Commissioner Ian Stewart suspects the service could also find itself in a position where it was "oversubscribed" with too many hands up to exit the organisation ahead of the restructure.

After Premier Campbell Newman took law reform to force redundancies off the table, Mr Stewart said he would find other ways to strip 110 positions from the current structure.

He said attrition was an option that would take much longer as he waited for sworn officers to reach 60 years but he would use their skills and experience appropriately until that time.

"In terms of taking the issue of any forced redundancy off the table I'm grateful for that advice now so that we can look at all the options available to manage the restructure process in the future," he said.

"I will test the waters with a voluntary offering to our people and that will occur through the consultation process.

"But up to 110 commissioned officers positions will be redundant as a result of this restructure.

"How individuals who sit in those positions exit the organisation or take up other roles, there are a number of options.

"We may be oversubscribed, we may get more people than necessary putting their hand up, we don't know yet."

The proposal involves condensing the management structure and closing three regional headquarters at Maroochydore, Cairns and Mount Gravatt.

It is expected to save about $31 million.

 

Premier Newman puts foot down over plans to force out cops

PREMIER Campbell Newman has overruled plans to change the laws to allow the state's top cops to be forced out the door under a major police restructure.

His comments came in stark contrast to Police Commissioner Ian Stewart's comments last week that he would request law reform to allow for forced redundancies of commissioned officers in the Queensland Police Service if the voluntary redundancy target was not met.

"There is no forced redundancies, that is not at all what is happening," Premier Campbell Newman said on Monday.

"He (Mr Stewart) will ultimately get to this new structure and new staffing levels and he will do that without forced redundancies."

Mr Stewart announced a major restructure of the police service last week.

Along with a regional restructure, about 110 commissioned officers and 212 other police staff will be targeted for redundancy.

In announcing the sweeping changes, Mr Stewart flagged a request for legislation changes from the State Government to allow for forced redundancies.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney did not rule it out last week either only stating he would work with the commissioner in whatever he requested to ensure more police on the frontline.

But fresh from his Christmas break, Mr Newman, standing alongside Police Minister Jack Dempsey, set the record straight.

"This will be through natural attrition; this is an evolutionary process, this is not a revolution," Mr Newman said.

Mr Dempsey said Mr Stewart had never asked him about forced redundancies.

He said 400 officers left the Queensland Police Service each year through natural attrition.

"Of that 20-30 are normally of a commissioned rank," Mr Dempsey said.

"With this restructure the commissioner will be able to find other ways to ensure there is no forced redundancies and the commissioned offices will be able to either be allocated or carried through the organisation while this reconstruction takes place."

The striking out of forced redundancies came as welcome news to the Queensland Police Union which approached the State Government with their concerns last week.

Assistant general secretary Denis Sycz said the union told the government the power to force redundancies could be abused.

"The Police Union thanks the State Government for their announcement today that they will not entertain any plans or requests by Commissioner Ian Stewart to change the law and that there will now not be any legislation changes to allow forced redundancies for sworn police," he said.



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