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Policing now and into the future

The Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA) Police Conference 2019 (PC19) in July explored national and global issues affecting policing. The presenters talked about what the next-generation police officer will look like and approaches to creating a diverse and future-ready workforce.

PC19 attracted over 400 leaders, policy makers and industry partners from Australia and New Zealand’s policing and law enforcement community. In open, honest and relaxed forums New Zealand Police Commissioner Bush joined Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Colvin as well as Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners from other states and territories to talk about being future-ready, the digitisation of policing, and the future of DNA analysis and its impact on law enforcement.

Among the many presentations were two on accelerating improvements in road safety and using predictive analytics in policing. These issues were covered in the 2019 Public Safety IRC Skills Forecast, which includes a proposal to develop two new qualifications in Crash Investigations and Crash Analysis. The Public Safety IRC has proposed this project to enable effective and efficient reporting on accidents for coronial enquiries and the courts system.

Change and innovation was a common theme in the presentations. Keynote speaker Holly Ransom (named one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review in 2018 and in 2019 awarded the US Embassy’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Leadership Excellence) warned that ‘everyone needs to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in the future’.  This sentiment became a common theme throughout the conference.

The ANZPAA Innovation and Research team provided an insightful overview of a current research project on the makeup of a typical police officer now and into the future. They provided a list of the core skills and qualities police officers require: greater critical thinking, strategic and analytical skills, being more digitally literate and engaged in continuous learning, entering the job with more life experience and being resilient to change.

The team also discussed the challenges the sector will face in attracting the next generation of police officers. They warned against overloading expectations of what an ideal police officer should be. They also said the current rigidity in the recruitment process and the wage and promotions structure, combined with challenging workplace requirements could be an impediment to attracting the right candidates. They also stressed the need for a more diverse workforce that mirrored the communities it served.

ANZPAA PC20 will be held in Melbourne in March 2020.

Jean Dyzel, ANZPAA Director and Public Safety IRC member and Larry Proud at the PC19 Conference.