However, there have been suggestions that anything from 10%-20% of officers are not available at any given time because they are on: secondment to Ministers /Premier / ICAC; annual leave; long service leave; sick leave, including because of stress; restricted duties; or suspended from duty.
Successive NSW Governments have managed Police numbers by having few recruits join in the years following an election; then extremely large numbers attesting as Police Officers in the month or so before an election. This has been part of the "Law and Order" campaigns.
But this is not good management - it generates headlines and large numbers, and to that extent it suits the politicians in government; and opposition parties will promise large increases in numbers.
Proper, responsible management by the NSW government would see the following:
- a more even intake and appointment of numbers, according to actual need, rather than the "feast or famine" model favoured by politicians. In this model, large numbers of police are appointed shortly before an election, to be announced, and re-announced by politicians for the benefit of politicians
- the legislated strength of NSW Police increased by about 15%, so that actual available police in Local Area Commands are close to what they should be now. This would accommodate the numbers of officers not available for any of the reasons outlined above. (2nd paragraph)
Are the politicians only concerned with the politics of providing essential State services, or with proper, appropriate management by responsible government??