Victoria Police in major recruitment drive: Force approaches previous applicants as it looks to fill hundreds of jobs

Victoria Police is embarking on a major recruitment drive with a focus on enticing back thousands of individuals who were once keen to join the force.

More than 40,000 people who previously applied but were knocked back or expressed interest in a careers information session or the police fitness test will be contacted as the force looks to bolster its ranks.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said it was likely those who were once rejected could soon be welcomed into force but denied it would lower standards.

“They may have improved their fitness levels. There may have been something that they needed to study up on in terms of an exam, all those sorts of things,” Mr Patton told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell on Monday.

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“It’s not about dropping standards. It’s about saying ‘listen, hey you thought you wanted to join the best job in the world, well guess what, that opportunity’s still here and let’s come and have another look’.

“We’re hoping to get them in, we really are encouraging them.”

Mr Patton was quizzed by Mitchell on why Victoria Police were struggling to get applications if it really did involve the best job in the world as he claimed.

“We are getting people in the door. We’re just not getting as many in as we’d like. As you’re well aware we’re in an extremely competitive job market, there’s historically low levels of unemployment,” he said .

“We saw obviously at the end of COVID, mid last year if you like… when people said ‘okay I can now travel overseas again’, we saw large numbers leave the organization, our attrition went up.

“That’s stabilized over the last three months. We had people who were holding off over that two and a half year, three year period… leaving, they then left so it was all in a big group more so than one small chunk.”

Victoria Police is looking to add an extra 502 police and 50 protective services officers within the next two years, but Mr Patton said the number needed to be at least a thousand to also replace those who have left.

He was later asked about the implications of the force if it failed to reach its recruitment targets, including if it affected the job Victoria Police was able to undertake on the streets.

“In due course, if we don’t get the numbers it would that’s for sure. I mean obviously you’ve got to be able to put your employees out there so we do need them,” Mr Patton said.

“But at the moment the service delivery was not impacted.

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“The reality is we just need to work really hard and need to get these numbers in.”

Victoria Police will hold a careers expo at Kensington Town Hall on January 18.

The Herald Sun reported this month Victoria Police’s attrition rate increased from 3.6 per cent to 4.7 per cent within the last year.

The publication reported one constable who left the force last year had said: “COVID took a massive toll on the force – we were not only dragged from pillar to post, manning state and regional borders to being thrust at protest after protest, but then we were expected to stop toddlers playing on slides and grannies sitting on benches in the park”.

One officer has reportedly called for police who left after vaccine mandates were enforced to be brought back.

Over the three-and-a-half years to July, a reported 1912 sworn members resigned or retired from the force.

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