WA detectives are making veiled threats of industrial action unless the police hierarchy halts a controversial tenure policy that may force experienced officers from squads that investigate murderers, rapists and drug dealers.
More than 100 detectives met at the Maylands police complex yesterday to vent their fury at the policy which links tenure to the metropolitan, regional and specialist crime portfolios rather than to divisions or squads.
They unanimously passed motions calling for Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan to postpone the policy for six months to work with the WA Police Union on a system that was fair, provided for development opportunity, was flexible and considered staff transfers on a case-by-case basis.
Union president George Tilbury said members could boycott all detective transfers and the new policy. Officers in charge of squads may also remove personal mobile phone numbers from the police system and refuse to take work mobile phones home unless they are paid an on-call allowance.
The union stopped short of describing the moves as industrial action, but it closely resembles work-to-rule measures last seen in WA at the height of last year's bitter pay negotiations with the State Government.
Members at yesterday's two-hour meeting also reinforced a vote of no-confidence in the architect of the policy changes, Assistant Commissioner Nick Anticich.
An internal survey regarding tenure attracted responses from about two thirds of more than 800 detectives who serve across WA.
Almost 80 per cent of more than 400 officers who answered a question on which policy they preferred supported the previous policy, while 170 detectives suggested neither policy was suitable and called for a complete overhaul of the system.
The Curtin branch of the union, mostly representing detectives in specialist squads, initially raised concerns over the new policy but yesterday's meeting included officers from across WA.
Mr Anticich previously said the reasoning behind this policy was to make the process fairer and strike a balance between individual desires and affording the same opportunities to others. He also said it was hoped the policy would build a broader knowledge base over time.
The union wants Mr O'Callaghan to respond by Friday - the same day the policy is meant to become a reality.The Office of the Commissioner said Mr O'Callaghan had received a letter from the WA Police Union and would consider the detail as a matter of urgency. Mr Anticich declined to comment.
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