'Recognise the pain of job': Cop's fight for recognition
RETIRED Coast police officer Robbie Munn's support for the addition of suicide officers' names to state and national memorials is conditional.
His point-of-view highlights a major complexity faced by authorities considering a campaign by North Queensland man Steven Isles to have police memorial criteria changed so officers who take their own lives can be added.
Mr Munn, 60, retired from the Queensland Police Service in February.
He reached the rank of Sergeant during his 38 years in the service, the last 14 based at Maroochydore.
"I don't take the view that just because an officer commits suicide they automatically go on a memorial," Mr Munn said.
He said if the officer's suffering or mental illness could be directly linked to their job, they certainly deserved to be on honour rolls.
But he said if an officer's demise was due to factors outside of work, then it wouldn't be fitting to add their names to memorials.
"I think if you are going on the memorial wall of police who have died linked to their jobs, it (the suicide death) really needs to be linked to their jobs."
Mr Munn said distinguishing the causes could prove difficult.
He also said officially recognising the link between suicide deaths and police work could leave the service exposed to vicarious liability.
Meanwhile, Mr Isles said his push to have officers recognised seemed to be gaining traction with police boss Commissioner Ian Stewart.
Mr Isles last week received a letter from Commissioner Stewart which said he and his interstate counterparts were considering a range of issues on the topic.
"This is a complex issue and it will be important to ensure that any change to existing arrangements involves consultation with key stakeholders, including the Police Federation of Australia, appropriate industrial or association representatives of all jurisdictions, serving members and the families of members who have died in the service of their communities," the letter read.
Commissioner Stewart said submissions from those stakeholders would be sought in due course.
"Any changes will require careful consideration to meet contemporary community expectations, the changing nature and risks of policing and the original ideals that underpinned the creation of the National Memorial."
Mr Isles regarded the response as a small, but progressive, step towards his end goal.
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said the issue was complex, important and one of which commissioners across all Australian policing jurisdictions were aware.
"The Commissioners of Police in Australia are considering a range of issues related to acknowledgment of police officers on individual state memorials and the National Police Memorial," the spokesman said.
"As you can appreciate this is a lengthy process that involves obtaining and analysing submissions from a variety of stakeholders, some of whom include the various state and territory policing associations and the Police Federation of Australia."