Victoria Police’s slump in applicants wanting to join the force is unrelated to frequent lockdown protests in 2021, according to a government Minister.
Transport Minister Jaala Pulford made the comments on Saturday morning and said the situation was partly due to a competitive job market and low unemployment rates.
“We’re in a really tight labour market so Victoria Police, like all organisations, have to work a little harder to find people for work,” she said.
“So whether you’re talking about a business that does digital marketing or one that does government services, the public sector, the private sector or any sector, it’s a pretty competitive environment so Victoria Police are working hard to make sure prospective recruits are aware of the opportunity to work in the police force.”
Ms Pulford also maintained the controversial role police played in Melbourne’s 2021 lockdown protests is not related to the dip in people wanting to join.
“I don’t think that’s been the case at all,” she said.
“Police officers and indeed PSOs and people in civilian roles in Victoria Police are absolutely committed to public safety and what that looks like from one year to the next changes … but I have no evidence to suggest that there is a link.”
Melbourne’s six lockdowns throughout 2020 and 2021 left police officers to enforce an array of tough lockdown rules on top of their regular duties.
A Victoria Police spokesman attributed the decrease in applicants to the competitive job market.
“Victoria Police — like all employers — is operating in an extremely competitive job market with historically low levels of unemployment,” the spokesman said.
“We acknowledge that our recruit applications are lower than we would like.”