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Geesche Jacobsen Crime Editor
April 27, 2009

POLICE officers are being asked to sacrifice some sick leave entitlements to help make $101 million in savings the Government says is needed to fund a 12 per cent pay rise over the next three years.

The Government’s wage offer targets officers on sick leave, uniform officers on shiftwork, and detectives’ allowances among measures to fund the proposed pay rise, which is above the public sector ceiling for rises.

The push to cut sick leave benefits follows a highly critical Auditor-General’s report last year which found that on any day 9 per cent of officers could not carry out policing duties because of health issues and that officers who joined before 1988 took 43 per cent of all sick leave even though they made up only 4.2 per cent of the force.

The Police Association secretary, Peter Remfrey, said yesterday he was disappointed the Government’s offer had focused on cost savings rather than productivity improvements.

He said officers would lose in allowances what they gained in pay rises above the State Government’s 2.5 per cent annual limit.

“Some people could be worse off, especially those who regularly have to work unsociable hours like many of our young police. There’s nothing in the document that benefits the community.”

The Government wants to reduce the wages of those injured on the job once they have been off work for six months.

Mr Remfrey said some officers sustained complex physical and psychological injuries but could ultimately return to work.

But the Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, said the proposal was designed to get injured officers back to work more quickly.

The Government’s proposal offers a 10.5 per cent wage rise over three years in return for $77 million in savings. The offer could be increased to 12 per cent, with cabinet approval, if police found an extra $24 million in savings in the third year.

According to the NSW Government’s wages policy, all pay rises over 2.5 per cent a year need to be funded by savings from existing budgets.

Among the proposed savings for police, shift allowances would be based on the officer’s pay, rather than be paid equally to all independent of their rank.

An allowance for voluntary transfer to remote areas would also be scrapped.

Detectives stand to lose their plain-clothes allowance and face changes to the travelling allowance. The proposal also seeks to reduce the number of police Local Area Commands from 80 to 70.

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