Queesnsland Police graduation.

5th April 2023

This question is not an allegation and is posed in response to an article that appeared in the Guardian on the 12th of May 2021 under the headline ‘Queensland police discriminated against 200 potential male recruits in favour of women’ and sent to the CAA by a concerned reader of our recent article ‘Police staffing faces a perfect storm’.
Whether this has applied in Victoria, we do not know, but anecdotal information has been consistent that male recruit applicants are routinely discarded without giving a reason. They have apparently not been advised of any deficiencies so that they can address them, which seems unfair.
Moreover, the number and ratio of Police Training squads is no firm indication as to whether there is discrimination because we do not know if all the female recruits have been selected on merit and the males used to fill up the numbers.
This leads to the suspicion that an ‘aspirational ‘(euphemism for discrimination) gender quoter system may be being applied in Victoria.
The Guardian article reports on the findings of the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission which said, ‘…the state police service’s 50/50 recruitment strategy resulted in discriminatory practices being used against male candidates.’

As a result of the findings, three QPS employees responsible for the practice have been suspended, and a fourth had already left the service.

Interestingly the role of those suspended QPS employees and their rank were not disclosed. However, the Corruption Commission was clear on where the problems lay, senior command.

We would like to be reassured that this process has not been in action in Victoria because if it has, then it is inevitable that the position will be challenged at some stage.
Building transperancy in to the system is essential.
If it is in operation, either officially or otherwise, it is in direct contravention of the Equal Opportunities Act 1995 Section 16, which prohibits discrimination on a number of Attributes – amongst the list of attributes is gender and race, along with a number of others.

Equal Opportunities Act 1995

Part 4—When is discrimination prohibited?

Division 1—Discrimination in Employment

       16   Discrimination against job applicants
An employer must not discriminate against a person—
                         (a)  in determining who should be offered employment; or
                         (b)  in the terms on which employment is offered to the person; or
                         (c)  by refusing or deliberately omitting to offer employment to the person; or
                (d)  by denying the person access to a guidance program, an apprenticeship                              training program or other occupational training or retraining program.
Alarmingly, potential recruits in Victoria spend nearly a thousand dollars preparing for their assessment.
Spending that sort of money, it is reasonable that the applicants can be confident the selection process is fair and legal. With the cost, apart from being a clear disincentive, it eliminates many potential recruits who are financially disadvantaged.
We struggle to find any other career stream where applicants have to cover the costs of the employer in their assessment.
Being poor is not an egregious attribute. Arguably, people in this cohort may be better equipped for a Policing role with their life experiences with perhaps compassion and understanding. It also disadvantages specific ethnic and other sectors of the community.

The discrimination against this group shrinks the potential recruiting pool.

Recruiting for any Police Force is a critical function and determines the future of that organisation; therefore, it is imperative that all recruits are treated equally and according to the Law.
Applying discrimination in the recruiting process is unconscionable, given the expectations of successful recruits.
The community reasonably expects Police to act impartially without fear or favour, including swearing an oath to that effect. It expects the same from the organisation.
The CAA sincerely hopes that the Queensland experience has not operated in Victoria.
If it has, the community is entitled to know and needs to be reassured that the matter is fixed and those responsible have been dealt with.
Starting a career in the shadow of processes based on inequality or bias is no way to expect good outcomes, particularly when it is in direct contravention of Legislation. That inequity and bias can be ingrained at the start of a police career suggests it is unlikely that it will not have a deleterious effect on the individual’s performance during their career.
A Police member performing their duty does not police only one sector of the community, but all, and must apply the Law equally. Therefore, it matters not the gender, ethnicity, or other personal traits of applicants; what matters is the application of the Law.
That the makeup of a Police Force is from a broad church is a good thing, but when quotas are applied, it is counterproductive.
The CAA has no issue with and welcomes female Police recruits to the organisation, as it does for any ethnicity or from anywhere on the social economic scale: the Force is better for it.
However, we feel that any discrimination is repugnant and reflects poorly on the organisation as it places a shadow over many members who never know whether they were appointed on merit, gender, or ethnic-based quota systems.
This does not lead to a cohesive and effective workforce.