Qld police to miss recruitment target: audit

Fraser Barton |

The Queensland Police Service is not on track to meet recruitment targets and lacks a strategic approach to workforce planning, the state’s auditor-general has found.

Brendan Worrall’s audit, handed down on Thursday, said a model used to assess the demand on police resources collected information mainly about on-call operations.

The auditor-general said it did not capture time spent by officers on proactive policing, administrative tasks, and non-frontline work.

“It also limits its ability to forecast and plan for a workforce to meet future demand,” the report found.

Initiatives have been deployed by Queensland police to lure more people into the force, including a large recruitment campaign launched in September aimed at both domestic and international applicants.

But the auditor-general said the force was not on track to meet its 2025 target of increasing the amount of officers by 1450 as both attracting and retaining staff remained a challenge.

“Higher-than-expected attrition rates, a change in society’s perceptions of policing as a career, and recent shortages of labour resources have all contributed,” the report said.

Mr Worrall said the service needed a specific approach to growing, optimising and upskilling the workforce to meet future demand, with police call-outs increasing by 30 per cent since 2016.

While service calls were prioritised based on urgency, response times for high priority calls were not meeting specified targets, he said.

The report said while police responded to nearly 90 per cent of all calls requiring action in 2021/22, they did not respond to 86,594 of which 369 were very urgent or urgent. 

Mr Worrall acknowledged responses could vary between regions due to remoteness, distance and the availability of resources. 

In his recommendations, the auditor-general said the service must become more agile, flexible and address challenges relating to efficiency, wellbeing, recruitment and public expectations.

Mr Worrall said recommendations from the audit would take work.

“However, acting on them will not only help QPS measure and manage the effectiveness of its services, but also reduce uncertainty and stress by clearly identifying problems and solutions across the organisation,” he said.