Police axe support staff jobs

Four Southland police support staff jobs have been lost after restructuring.

Police said yesterday moves to centralise support staff throughout the Southern District would "take paperwork off frontline police and get them out into the community preventing and solving more crime" to meet the new prevention focus of police.

One support job each in Te Anau, Oamaru, Balclutha and Gore has been cut, while in Invercargill five jobs have been axed but three new jobs created.

A reception job had been axed in North Dunedin, with the person taking a new job in the new centralised file management centre in Dunedin, while a receptionist would remain at the South Dunedin community station with reduced hours.

The net effect was four support jobs in the district would be cut, while six more would transfer to contribute to the staffing of the national crime reporting line based in Auckland.

Yesterday, Southern police district commander Superintendent Bob Burns said while some staff were not affected by the change, those who were were "not particularly happy about that - I don't think anybody would be".

"It's quite difficult. We're talking about staff who have given absolutely outstanding service to this organisation for a long period of time, and it's through no fault of their own that the organisation is looking for better efficiencies . . . like any other organisation, we've got to do things a little bit better or faster or cheaper."

The restructure aimed to reduce administrative work for frontline staff, allowing them more time out in the field, he said.

Southland area commander Inspector Lane Todd said before the restructure, there were 12 support staff in Invercargill.

There had been a net loss of two support staff - five jobs had been disestablished but three other new jobs had been created - which took the figure to 10.

Throughout the rest of the region, there had been 5.5 fulltime-equivalent support positions, and that would be cut to 3.5, he said.

One of the rural staff lost had transferred to the communications centre in Christchurch, while the second was working with a different agency, he said.

"I guess there was an acceptance that we did have to go through restructuring, because that's part of the national process at the moment . . . we've had to reduce by two staff but we've also balanced that [with new positions]. We're grateful that we've managed to secure those three positions back."

Police said a decision document was released to staff on Monday after a three-week consultation phase.

The Dunedin file management centre would oversee the management of files presently dealt with by frontline staff.

Some staff whose jobs had been axed would have the option of moving to jobs at the new centre, while staff who had been affected had options including reassignment, redeployment, or voluntary severance.

Transition to the new structure would start immediately.

The Southland Times