Police union leadership battle
Police union leadership battle

A former long-serving vice-president of the WA Police Union announced yesterday he would challenge president Russell Armstrong for the top job in next month's union elections.

Insp. Chris Cassidy, who resigned from the union board almost two years ago in protest over controversial comments made by Mr Armstrong about WA's Aboriginals, said he believed the union was being poorly run and needed change.

Insp. Cassidy said he would run for a position on the board, which then selects the president.

This week he sent a strongly worded email to each of the union's more than 5000 members in which he claimed the organisation had lost its political clout and was not providing them with value for money.

In the email he claimed that he had been approached by "many members" who had asked him to nominate for the presidency.

These members had outlined various concerns about the union, including the board's "lack of transparency on many matters", a "lack of financial accountability" and the "soaring, unrestrained cost of legal services".

Insp. Cassidy said yesterday he was unimpressed by the work done by Mr Armstrong since he took over from Mike Dean in 2009.

He said the union's reputation had been tarnished when Mr Armstrong, after an assault on a Carnarvon policewoman, claimed WA's Aboriginals had a culture of drunken violence towards women and police which indigenous leaders did nothing to address.

Insp. Cassidy said he had served on the union board for 14 years as a director, treasurer, senior vice-president and chairman of the legal committee.

Mr Armstrong said he was disappointed that Insp. Cassidy's email had been leaked to the media. He said he would not enter into a public debate.

He claimed the criticisms made by Insp. Cassidy were "not concerns shared by myself or the board of directors".

Mr Armstrong confirmed he would nominate for the board and, if elected, to retain the presidency.

The West Australian

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