Bullying ‘just broke me’: Former cop
AN EXPERIENCED former police officer says bullying, quotas and under-resourcing at Tweed-Byron Police District forced him out after decades on the job.
The retired cop spoke out after the Gold Coast Bulletin highlighted the district's share of new officers in NSW Police Force's recent graduate allocations.
Two probationary constables were allocated out of 261 academy graduates.
Requesting anonymity, the northern NSW man said he "thoroughly enjoyed" his long career - until he transferred to the district.
"It just broke me," he said.
The former officer said staffing issues were "nothing new and have always been a hotbed topic".
"Senior management and MP (Geoff) Provest have always blamed sick leave as the main reason for staff shortages. There are large numbers off sick but it is due to the treatment by senior management within the NSW Police Force and particularly Tweed-Byron that is the cause of this," he said.
"Management will have you believe that it is the nature of policing that cause injuries. Some of this is true, but the greater number is due to bullying, harassment and intimidating tactics used by senior management. It has a burnout effect."
The officer said staffing problems combined with a drive for arrest and fine quotas plus the difficulties of policing the border.
"It is driven by statistical numbers and creates a competition type of mentality between local area commands or police districts. It's all about stats via a management tool called Compass (reporting tool). Day in and day out, all you hear is Compass," he said.
"The greater majority of officers just want to lock crooks up, not feel they have to compete against their mates and have management out them for poor performance or figures."
The retired cop said he watched "many a good officer break down at the treatment they receive and the sheer workload pressures", while others "just hang on for their mates".
He said when new staff do join "the struggling officers hanging on just fall off the perch".
"It's never ending," he said.
"What senior management in the northern areas of NSW fail to grasp or acknowledge is the fact the area is basically an extension of the Gold Coast."
The former officer said there was "several chiefs and not enough Indians" and the district was "no different to any other part of the NSWPF I have worked in".
Superintendent Dave Roptell, the Commander of the district for the last four months, said "extra police would always be welcome".
But he was "aware that there is a finite number of officers available".
His focus since he took up the position was on "positive community engagement and to support the police officers under my command", he said.
"The welfare of the police attached to Tweed-Byron is at the forefront of my mind, and I will continue to ensure that they have the support required to perform their duties."