Police scrap minor fines

LOCAL police have stopped issuing fines for minor offences in response to the State Government's overhaul of the police death and disability scheme.

The go-slow show of industrial action was announced by the Police Association of NSW (PANSW) yesterday after Police Minister Michael Gallacher announced the Government would tighten the reins on the police force's sick and stress leave scheme.

PANSW directed its members on Thursday afternoon to issue court attendance notices and verbal warnings rather than fines for minor offences, such a traffic offences.

This is expected to slow the court system where the influx of court attendance notices will be felt.

The industrial action will continue until the Government comes to the negotiation table.

Under the new scheme, injured police will have their full salary maintained for six months but then reduced gradually to encourage them to undergo rehabilitation and return to work, Minister Gallacher explained.

Under the current scheme, officers received a lump sum pay-out and were eligible for "top-up" payments.

"But, rather than abandoning our officers once they are injured, we want to encourage them to seek treatment and return to the Police Force wherever possible," Mr Gallacher said.

"In 2005 there were 450 officers on long term sick leave which has now increased to 1135 officers, an increase of 152%."

Sick leave is of particular concern in the Richmond Local Area Command (LAC), where there are 18 vacancies due to officers being off sick.

PANSW have slammed the proposal and claimed they received no consultation about the changes.

"The changes to the scheme without consultation of grass roots Police is very disappointing," PANSW Lismore branch president Dave Longfield said.

"We do not support any change that erodes the entitlements of serving police, but acknowledge that some changes needed to be made to address current flaws in the system."

"This is a slap in the face for hard working front line police, who now patrol the community with an uncertain future."

Minister Gallacher said he was disappointed with in the industrial action.

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