Shifts OK with us!

By KUE DAVIS

COFFS Coast policemen are weighing up claims their rostering system is inefficient and hinders investigations.

A report released by NSW Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat said the block-rostering system currently employed throughout the state, is inefficient, hampers investigations and should be overhauled.

And according to the report, the controversial 12-hour block rostering system is affecting the performance of the state's 14,000 frontline officers.

But the Advocate has learned the system, in which frontline police work four 12-hour shifts split into two day and two night shifts, accompanied by six rest days, is popular within general duties police.

Former senior constable at the Coffs/Clarence command, Scott Goodhand, said while general duties officers were happy with the system; it did have an affect on the efficiency of investigations.

"Investigations are lengthened. Officers are on for two or three days, begin an investigation, and then are off for three to six days.

"Unless it's a more serious matter, the police procedure is to keep that investigation with that particular officer, meaning it will be put on hold until they are back on duty. "Sometimes, when they return they might be on night shift which means they don't have a chance to follow anything up until they're back on day shift.

"In my opinion, for the purpose of servicing the community, the rostering should return to eight-hour blocks."

The auditor-general's report also said the rosters led to rigid work patterns, increasing the risk the force may be unable to attend calls quickly and provide good customer service.

NSW Police commissioner, Andrew Scipione, said the roster system was a popular award provision for officers and helped attract new recruits.

He said the force had engaged a top sleep specialist to look at the rosters and provide advice.



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