Working together to protect our future
 
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President Paul McCue recently addressed the Associations 2019 Annual Conference. This is an edited version of his address to delegates and guests on the opening day.

80 Years Strong

Firstly, thank you to Natasha Gregory and Chaplain Pat King for assisting this morning.

I welcome our invited guests, including the Minister for Police, the Honourable Nicole Manison MLA, Shadow Minister for Police, Mrs Lia Finocchiaro MLA & the Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr Michael Murphy APM.

Other guests joining us here this morning include the CEO of the Police Federation of Australia, Mr Scott Webber, my Queensland and Victorian counterparts, Ian Leavers and John Laird respectively, and Retired Association President Mr Gary Manison APM.

As always however, I particularly welcome our delegates who sit before us today, proudly representing all sworn police in the Northern Territory who are out there today risking their lives in keeping us safe.

At the Honours and Awards ceremony last week it was heartening to hear both the Minister and the Acting Commissioner speak of the important role the families of our police officers play because that protection our members provide the community is often at the cost of valuable family time, and of course at risk to their own personal safety, all in the pursuit of protecting complete strangers.

As we sit here today, we reflect on our theme for this year, 80 Years strong.

80 years of working together to protect our future. 80 years of standing side by side, as one, to ensure fairness, to ensure due process, and to protect & enhance conditions for what is one the most difficult jobs anyone could sign up to do.

While we will reflect more on our 80th year tonight, in preparation for today I
revisited the Minutes taken at the very first meeting of the NT Police Association on Sunday 12 November, 1939.

It was those brave police back then who understood that a collective voice can make a difference. The first Chair of the inaugural meeting, Superintendent Stretton, stated:

"I am quite in favour of an Association being formed, and if we unite in this manner, we will probably get much better conditions. Any grievances should be discussed openly, and not behind closed doors."

With a simple motion moved by young Constable Jim Mannion nearly 80 years ago, That the Northern Territory Police Association be formed, our great organisation was created and has over the 80 years, lived up to the opinion of Inspector John Lovegrove at that first meeting, when he said:

"I wish the Association well and I am of the opinion that the movement will not just be a temporary affair but shall go on and on."

MINISTER

I again welcome the Minister here today and will state that since taking on the role of Minister for Police over a year ago, and despite your obvious busy schedule, you have ensured contact with the NTPA is critical to the work you do, including direct contact with our Executive who have appreciated your willingness to attend meetings and listen to the concerns of members and answer the difficult questions.

You are also notably out and about listening to those on the frontline, both in Darwin and remotely, seeking their feedback on important policing issues. We firmly believe the development of government policy can only be enhanced when speaking to those on the frontline and even though we will continue to be vocal against policy which we believe is not in the best interests of our members, we know you are still listening to their concerns first hand.

I have also been fortunate enough to share that same level of access with our Shadow Minister, and it was abundantly clear in our most recent meeting that you are also spending considerable time listening to our members and this Association which of course only enhances our ability to work together on key issues confronting our members as we move into 2020 and beyond.

RECRUITING

One topic always on the agenda is police recruiting and resourcing. You get in the asked a lot in the Association about how much is the right amount of police. The reality is the answer changes each time government policy changes and new legislation is introduced, just as we have seen with amendments to the Liquor Act and are likely to see with the Youth Justice legislation. It also changes when new police stations are built, but no additional staffing for that station are recruited.

Our KPIs, are the rosters. When rosters cannot be filled, and are reliant each week on overtime shifts, there are not enough. When Sergeants are teaming up with Constables to fill a van and ensure enough General Duties are available, there are not enough. When an officer is left on their own in a remote station for more than a night, there are not enough.