According to a government minister, the slump in the number of candidates seeking to join the police force in Victoria has nothing to do with the frequent lockdown protests in 2021.
Transport Minister Jaala Pulford made the remarks on Saturday morning, saying the situation was partly due to a competitive labor market and low unemployment rates.
“We are in a very tight labor market, so the Victoria Police Department, like all organizations, has to work a little harder to find people for work,” she said.
“So whether you’re talking about a company that does digital marketing or a company that does government services, the public sector, the private sector, or any industry, it’s a pretty competitive environment, so Victoria Police is working hard to make sure to ensure that potential recruits are aware of the opportunity to join the police force.”
Ms Pulford also insisted the controversial role the police played in the 2021 Melbourne lockdown protests is not related to the dip in people seeking to join.
“I don’t think that’s been the case,” she said.
“Police officers and indeed PSOs and people in civilian positions in the Victoria Police Department are absolutely committed to public safety and how that looks changes from one year to the next… but I have no evidence that there is a connection.”
The six lockdowns in Melbourne in 2020 and 2021 forced police officers to enforce a series of strict lockdown rules in addition to their regular duties.
A spokesman for the Victoria Police Department attributed the decline in job applicants to the competitive job market.
“The Victoria Police Department – like all employers – operates in an extremely competitive job market with historically low unemployment rates,” the spokesperson said.
“We recognize that our applications are lower than we would like.”