MP slams wannabe cop program as ‘homework’
A North Queensland MP has slammed a new online police program for wannabe cops as a cost cutting exercise as the force dodge questions on how much cash is being saved.
It comes as Police Minister Mark Ryan announced this week that existing police officers would be used to run a 24hr strike force team to combat youth crime at Townsville.
Under Queensland Police's new "Distance Based Pre-Learning Pathway", Townsville's latest intake of cops will spend a month doing readings and online tutorials before they start at the academy proper, but the work isn't compulsory and their participation in "webinars" isn't logged.
Opposition Minister for Northern Queensland Dale Last labelled the course as "homework" saying face-to-face training was paramount, not sitting in front of a computer screen.
"The Police Commissioner admits we need more police officers in Queensland but, if this change is about reducing costs or trying to speed up the recruitment process then Queenslanders will be very disappointed and the officers themselves could be put at risk," he said.
"The Minister needs to stand up, take the Commissioner's advice on board and commit to extra police and give a guarantee that their training won't be shortened by giving them homework to do before they arrive at the academy."
Studying recruits are paid $1623.05 a fortnight for 24 weeks while they learn at the academies, including Townsville's North Ward campus.
From December 2018, 134 students graduated from the Townsville campus, and 60 were currently in training.
Queensland Police did not acknowledge questions about whether the program was a cost cutting tactic, but said the program did not cut any time off being on-campus.
The spokesman said the program cost police even more cash, with money being poured into software design, implementation and maintenance.
He said the program was an efficient way of preparing a recruit for the academy and maximises the opportunity for more time and engagement between tutors and students while on-campus.