Supporting our people
Physical health and well being
The QPS continues to provide support for its employees through a comprehensive suite of services directed at employee physical and mental health.
The suite of support services is designed to enhance the capacity of the Service through the prevention of injuries and management of absence, stress and organisational health issues.
Our staff have access to a number of free and voluntary services:
- The HealthStart Program enables staff to obtain a confidential profile of their health through completion of a lifestyle questionnaire, physical assessment and comprehensive blood test. The Service employs four health coaches to conduct the physical assessments statewide and provide health coaching to those employees who wish to improve their HealthStart results through modification of their diet and physical activity levels. The program is also supplemented by the HealthStart online learning product, which assists employees in learning about their health and developing diet, exercise plans and mental health coping plans. Over 1 461 staff have participated in the program in the past year.
- Headquarters and regional gymnasiums provide health and recreation facilities to Service members around the state. The Police Headquarters gymnasium provides a range of allied health services such as physiotherapy and pilates classes on a user pays basis.
- The Service funds an internal health care provider for case management and treatment of police officers who require assistance for alcohol or drug misuse.
- As part of our commitment to fostering the importance of employees’ health, the Service supports participation in a range of national and international sporting events, including the:
- 13th Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games
- 2009 Australia New Zealand Police Cricket Carnival
- 2010 Australian Police Golf Championships
- 2009 Australasian Police Basketball Championships.
Psychological health and wellbeing
The QPS Employee Assistance Service (EAS) comprises psychologists and social workers in all regions, commands and divisions. Our mental health professionals have a sound understanding of the unique demands placed on operational police. They provide professional clinical and organisational consultancy advice and support to all staff and managers. A continued focus for EAS is to align the management of psychological risk in the workplace with mainstream risk management practices. There are several initiatives focused on enhancing organisational health:
- Psychological First Aid
- Peer Support Officers
- Healthy Workplaces Project
The Healthy Workplaces Project (HWP), in partnership with Griffith University, commenced in early 2008 with the aim of developing a model for healthy, positive and productive workplaces. The second HWP survey has now been conducted and the three regions currently participating in the HWP are Southern, Far Northern and North Coast Regions.
Results from the 2008 survey indicated a need for managerial training and support for senior and mid-level leaders. One program initiated to provide such support was the Practical People Management Program (PPMP). This program has been delivered to some 220 officers including Senior Constables, Sergeants and Senior Sergeants. A senior leadership program has also been delivered to over 70 officers including Senior Sergeants, Inspectors and Superintendents. The leadership program incorporates a management coaching component to ensure that leadership practices are maintained in the Service.
An external evaluation by Griffith University of the PPMP in Southern Region indicated positive outcomes for participants: 94% of participants considered the program was valuable in helping them to achieve their goals and expectations, 89% were satisfied with the program, and significant increases in knowledge and confidence were recorded for all aspects of peoplemanagement measured.
Load Bearing Vests (LBV)
In mid 2010 the Queensland Police Service commenced a project to identify, evaluate and implement a suitable load bearing vest (LBV) for use by operational members.
The purpose of the LBV is to carry current and future QPS approved equipment and to redistribute the associated weight from an officer’s waist to areas on the mid-section. Operational officers are required to carry a range of equipment and accoutrements which has increased with the roll out of Conducted Energy Devices (Taser).
It is anticipated that the introduction of an ergonomically designed LBV will contribute to positive health and safety outcomes for officers.
Police officers in Queensland are continuously faced with a risk of exposure to infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C strain, as a result of biting, spitting or needle stick injuries inflicted by offenders.
Following a 12 month trial of safety (spit) hoods within Special and Category One type watchhouses, a review was conducted by the Review and Evaluation Unit, Ethical Standards Command. The review recommended safety (spit) hoods be made available for use in all QPS watchhouses.
Training in the use of safety (spit) hoods has been incorporated into the Operational Skills and Tactics (OST) training for police in 2010.
Chaplaincy Services and Helping Hand
The QPS has increased the number of paid chaplaincy hours through the addition of another full time Police Chaplain to support the Southern Region. This brings the number of full time Police Chaplains to seven. Full time Police Chaplains are supported with a network of part-time and voluntary Police Chaplains across all regional and remote Queensland communities.
The Chaplaincy Service assists members of the Service, their families and members of the community to deal with a very broad range of personal, work related and grief issues.
The Community Supporting Police Inc. Helping Hand Fund was established in 2004 in response to an increasing need for assistance by Service members in times of crisis such as serious or terminal illness, injury or personal trauma.
Alcohol and drug awareness
The Alcohol and Drug Awareness Unit is responsible for managing internal alcohol and drug programs, including education, coordination of testing and clinical support for members requiring assistance.
Police member education on alcohol and drugs has a significant prevention focus with all education linking back to the management of integrity for all members.
Testing continues to be one aspect of our commitment to enhance police wellbeing and safety within the workplace. As at 30 June 2010, 1 117 members had undergone a random alcohol test with one positive result. The Alcohol and Drug Awareness Unit also provided a statewide 24/7 on call service in order to coordinate targeted substance and alcohol tests following critical incidents. During the year, 32 urine drug tests and 30 breath alcohol tests were conducted, with all results being negative.
Equity and diversity
The Equity and Diversity Unit (EDU) is committed to promoting a diverse workforce and building a workplace culture founded on the principles of equity and respect.
During the past year, the EDU has continued to provide advice and support to QPS members to ensure equity in employment and professional development. In addition, the EDU has actively encouraged appropriate behaviour by educating members on QPS policy and relevant legislation.
The EDU offers mediation to all QPS employees as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. Mediation is an option available to all QPS employees seeking to resolve negative workplace behaviours including sexual harassment. This ADR process provides employees with
the opportunity to resolve their own disputes.
The EDU is also responsible for ensuring all separating employees have access to the online separations process. This process includes a confidential survey which provides valuable information relating to negative workplace behaviours. The data collected from
the survey assists in providing quarterly reports to senior management.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment
During the year, the Service continued to deliver the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Entry Program (JEP) traineeship, the JEP Indigenous Mentoring Program, and maintained the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Advisory Board. Progress has included:
- 102 people have commenced the JEP traineeship since 2003
- 80 people have graduated with the Certificate IV in Justice
- 71 JEP graduates have then entered the Police Recruit Operational Vocational Education Program (PROVE) as police recruits
- 57 people have graduated from PROVE and have been sworn in as constables
- 8 people commenced the ninth intake of the JEP traineeship in May this year and are due to graduate in October 2010.
NAIDOC Week celebrates the achievements, history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Here two Indigenous QPS officers tell their stories.
Sergeant Stephen Tillett is based in Cairns and works as a Cross Cultural Liaison Officer (CCLO) for the Far Northern Region.
I was a professional rugby league player until I joined the QPS in March 1997 to become one of the first Torres Strait Islander trainees to undertake the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traineeship at Innisfail TAFE. After completing a Diploma of Justice I was sworn in to the Service in August 1998, at the same time receiving the Commissioner’s Award, Dux Award, Traffic Dux and Squad Dux.
My first posting was to Cairns Station and I have also worked at Pormpuraaw, Lockhart River, Edmonton and Normanton Stations. I was promoted to Senior Constable while at Normanton. In August 2005 I was transferred to Far Northern Region’s Cross Cultural Liaison Unit and just over a year later promoted to Sergeant as a CCLO.
I’m extremely proud of everything I’ve achieved so far in my personal and professional life. I was born on Palm Island and grew up in other communities including Weipa, Bamaga and Thursday Island. I’m now married with three beautiful kids and am a proud member of the QPS. As part of my role, I ensure young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know my background. I tell them they can achieve anything they put their mind to.
Sergeant Alan Dewis is the first Torres Strait Islander to be appointed as Officer-in-Charge of Horn Island.
I was originally a mechanic by trade but joined the Service in 1994 after completing a Diploma of Justice Studies. As a Constable I worked in Ipswich, Aurukun and Cairns, including two years as a Covert Operative for State Crime Operations Command. I was promoted to Senior Constable and was second in command at Coen and Ravenshoe before becoming an investigator at Cairns Child Protection and Investigation Unit. I was then promoted to Sergeant; first serving at Thursday Island as a CCLO, and now as Officer-in-Charge of Horn Island. I supervise one Senior Constable and a Senior Police Liaison Officer (PLO) at Horn Island, and five Queensland and Torres Strait Islander Police (QATSIP) officers at Badu Island.
I’ve achieved a few milestones in my career as a police officer. In 2003, I was awarded 1st place in the Crime Prevention Category at the QPS Awards for Excellence for the Businesses Accessing Security Involving Cops initiative. In 2000 I was awarded the Far Northern Regional Gold Lantern for the Coen Kids Road Safety Program with Incentives and was also a finalist in the Commissioner’s Lantern Award for Excellence in Community Policing.
But the thing I am most proud of is becoming the first Torres Strait Islander appointed as Officer-in-Charge of a police station in the Torres Strait.
Preventing and resolving negative workplace behaviours
Negative workplace behaviour refers to any behaviour that may be defined as workplace harassment or unlawful discrimination, including sexual harassment.
Negative Workplace Behaviours training, now referred to as Improving Workplace Behaviours (IWB) training continues to be conducted in metropolitan and regional areas. Approximately 69.2% of all QPS employees are currently trained.
Balancing work and family
The Work-Life Balance Strategy is a Queensland Government initiative aimed at addressing issues with the attraction and retention of employees by improving the uptake of work-life balance policies for the Queensland public and private sectors. The implementation of various work-life balance practices has the potential to facilitate excellence in client service while also enabling individuals to better balance work and other life commitments.
The Queensland Police Service has been investigating more flexible ways of undertaking work and telecommuting is one of the options included in the work life balance framework.
A new policy designed to provide clear and consistent guidelines on how to establish telecommuting arrangements has now been added to the Human Resource Management suite of policies.
Two other initiatives which have been introduced to expand members’ ability to achieve a work life balance and to actively reduce attrition in the short and long term are the Part Time and Job SWAP Noticeboards.
The Job SWAP Noticeboard has been initiated to allow police officers to identify another member they may be eligible to swap locations with. At this stage the Job SWAP Noticeboard is restricted to:
- First Year Constables whose confirmation is expected within four months; and
- Constables and Senior Constables who are not occupying specialist or gazetted positions.
The Part Time Noticeboard has been established for two purposes:
- to inform officers interested in part-time employment about roles which may be currently available; and
- to inform supervisors and managers of existing parttime work arrangements and to assist with decision making around local personnel and workforce management issues.
Both initiatives have received excellent responses and have assisted numerous members to identify and apply for positions and arrangements which allow them to achieve a better work life balance.
Another initiative, the Pregnancy Information Package is available online and provides an easy to understand guide to legislation, policy and procedure for pregnant employees, employees adopting and their partners, supervisors and managers.