The program for the operational deployment of an additional 800 police officers to help safeguard the community was on target, according to Police Minister Bob Wiese.
Releasing the latest figures at a police graduation ceremony today, Mr Wiese said the additional officers were an integral part of the reform and restructuring of the Western Australian Police Service through the Delta Program.
He said the Government's commitment to achieve the 800 officers involved the `500 Plan' - a program to recruit a minimum of 32 officers a month - and the civilianisation of 300 non-operational positions.
"A net additional 272 new police officers have joined the service since January 1995 and the target increase of 500 will be met by February 1997,” Mr Wiese said.
"This figure takes full account of attrition from the service - currently an average of 16 officers a month - and if that rate changes, then extra schools or larger groups of police recruits will be trained through the Maylands academy.
"These are very exciting times for the officers graduating today because they are joining an organisation currently undergoing the most extensive reform of any police service in Australia.
"Through the Delta Program, the WA police service is adopting refined management structures and contemporary business practices and methods to enable officers to operate more effectively and efficiently in fighting crime."
Mr Wiese said the Government had allocated $10.3 million in this year's Budget to increasing police numbers and a further $3.2 million for continuing the civilianisation program.
He said the civilianisation program identified opportunities for civilians to replace police officers in non-operational roles - like clerical work - and allow these officers to get back into the community where they were needed most.
"Since the launch of the Delta Program there have been 201 positions approved for civilianisation throughout the State and to date 145 of those positions have been filled by civilian staff," Mr Wiese said.
The Minister said the three-year program was ahead of schedule and the latest figures from the police service indicated that all 300 positions would be approved and the majority of those filled by June this year.
"This is a tremendous achievement and highlights what the Delta Program is designed to achieve - maintaining constant improvement to provide a quality police service to the people of WA," Mr Wiese said.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595