Queensland Police has issued an Australia-wide call for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people interested in a career in law enforcement as the force faces a shortage of eligible recruits.
Indigenous Employment Officer Adrian Coolwell said about 2.3 percent of Queensland officers were currently of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent — a figure they want to increase.
“We want to get it up as far as we can,” Mr Coolwell said.
“It would be good if we could get it to at least five or 10 percent.
“But we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Queensland Police currently run an annual nine-week bridging program for Indigenous candidates in Townsville each October, which introduces them to police training before they go into six months of recruit training.
Mr Coolwell said they also want to run the program in Brisbane but are lacking numbers.
If a bridging course is not needed, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates can also go directly into recruit training.
Mr Coolwell said they currently had 12-15 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander recruits each year, but would like to see 20 recruit candidates go through training in each of the centres annually.
Although the force received about 750 applications each year, numeracy and literacy had proven a stumbling block, he said.
He said some Indigenous people were also against a career in the police force.
“I think a lot of people are negative towards the police for things that have happened in the past,” Mr Coolwell said.
“Some Indigenous people think it is not a good job to get into.
“I try to get to them and say there is always a bad apple in a box somewhere.
“You have to get in like any other job and do the best you can.”
Applications are welcome from all over Australia, although successful candidates would need to move to Queensland.
The starting wage for recruits is $1600 a fortnight before tax, which increases to about $80,000 a year for a first-year constable.
Recruits need to be over the age of 18, have a driver’s licence, no criminal history and be fit and healthy.
Applications can be made now. More information can be found at: www.policerecruit.com.au .