Police target Scipione over compo
NSW'S front-line police have accused their boss, Commissioner Andrew Scipione, of joining a "disgusting attack" on their welfare by supporting the O'Farrell government's controversial plan to slash compensation payouts.
NSW'S front-line police have accused their boss, Commissioner Andrew Scipione, of joining a "disgusting attack" on their welfare by supporting the O'Farrell government's controversial plan to slash compensation payouts.The feud between Mr Scipione and the NSW Police Association over planned changes to the death and disability scheme grew worse at the weekend, with officers threatening to pass a motion of no confidence against him.A memo from the association to its members on Thursday encouraged them to issue discretionary warnings instead of fines for minor offences and to register their protest with Mr Scipione directly. The memo gave details of Mr Scipione's email address and phone number.The cost of the compensation scheme has spiralled to more than $762 million a year, and the Minister for Police, Michael Gallacher, wants to wind it back.Under the proposed changes, the government would use commercial insurance arrangements and place restrictions on officers' entitlement to workers' compensation top-up payments, which now are unlimited.The association is angry that the proposed changes would cut compensation payouts. It said worried police had been bombarding the state's top cop with emails and phone calls, accusing him of betrayal for supporting the proposal."Commissioner is not focused on the welfare of police but instead is listening to his political masters," the Police Association memo declares. "This is a disgusting attack on the police officers of this state and is contrary to his own knowledge of the system."The association's president, Scott Weber, called on Mr Scipione to show leadership and to tell the government its proposals were wrong."Police officers have been writing to the Police Minister and the Police Commissioner to express their anger about the proposed changes," Mr Weber said."Any motions of no confidence simply highlight that there are 16,000 furious officers out there who want the commissioner to stand up for them and the Police Minister to rethink his position."Mr Scipione said the disability scheme in place was unsustainable and unaffordable.'The new proposal offers the advantage of getting police back to work, which is in their best interest and the best interests of the community," he told The Sun-Herald in a statement."Equally, for those who cannot get back to work, the government proposal seeks to equip them to become employable elsewhere in our community."The opposition spokesman for police, Nathan Rees, said Labor opposed the planned changes.A former detective, Michael Kennedy, who lectures on policing at the University of Western Sydney, said the system was inadequate and needed to be reformed to benefit rank-and-file officers."What the majority of police require is a decent superannuation scheme that is in line with the professionalisation process and encourages officers to return to work after their issues are dealt with," Dr Kennedy said."At the moment the only incentive offered is for police to leave their job and in the process they can never gain any sustainable and meaningful employment again."