Successive governments have attempted to put in place a redress scheme after many years, but Police Minister Michelle Roberts is being commended for announcing the scheme is now taking applications.
Former Police Commissioner, Karl O’Callaghan believes they are getting the acknowledgment they deserve, and it will make a difference to their lives.
“It should have happened a long time ago quite frankly, and certainly in my time as police commissioner I would have liked to see it happen,” he said.
Michael Thornbury, medically retired police officer, explained it’s the cap per person is $150,000, but doesn’t think anyone will receive more than $40,0000.
“It’s only half a year’s pay and for all the work and suffering had in the police force, they’re complaining that it’s not enough to pay for their bills and things like that,”
“This is not an ex gratia payment, this is not something they have to give anyone, they’re just doing it because its the right thing to do,” said Mr Thornbury.
The opposition supports the scheme, but is now looking to see how it goes in practice.
“What we’re looking for now is to see how it goes in practice, to make sure those medically retired police officers who desperately need not only recognition but funds to help them get on with their lives, get them as soon as possible,”
Shadow Police Minister, Peter Katsambanis said this is not only important for all officers, but it’s also important for people contemplating joining the police force.
“We want the best and the brightest to be considering careers in the police force, without adequate workers compensation which they still don’t have, and without adequate redress for medically retired offices, it becomes a less attractive profession,” he explained.
Dr O’Callaghan said he expects about 300 people will be eligible for the scheme, with applications closing April next year.
All applications will be assessed by a panel and depend on a range of criteria whether or not they are successful.
“I think the next phase of this is to discuss compensation for police officers, who currently don’t have a compensation scheme…”
“I know that’s on the table and something needing to be worked out between the government, WA police, and Police Union,” said Dr O’Callaghan.
“Hopefully with this scheme and when a compensation scheme is announced those matters can be corrected and it can once again become something that people want to do for a living,” said Mr Katsambanis.