WORK is ongoing within the Human Resources department to improve salaries for police officers in the hope it will improve recruitment locally.
Chief of Police Barry Marsden told the Police Committee on Thursday there were difficulties in recruiting either reserve or regular officers locally with remuneration being the primary cause.
Mr Marsden said that excluding the vacancies created by the recent increase in establishment in the past nine months, the Royal Falkland Islands Police had had four regular constables leave the service (40 per cent of the entire constable establishment) and regrettably included a local officer with 13 years experience.
He said it was a concern that the police were unable to attract a large number of quality applicants either as regular or reserve officers locally. In the UK the situation is totally reverse with the police service being the most sought of all emergency services, he said.
Enquiries with staff, comments from the independent public consultation meeting held in October 2011 and speaking to the public had revealed a number of reasons why policing was not seen as an appealing role in the Falklands with remuneration the biggest factor, he said.
"In financial hierarchical terms the police service is seen as poorly paid compared to other occupations either within government or in the private sector. This was similar to the UK in the late 1970's when recruitment was at an all time low and the Edmund Davies enquiry was held which resulted in a considerable improvement in remuneration making the police service a relatively well paid occupation when compared to other emergency services, nursing and the teaching profession," said Mr Marsden.
It was hoped that by making remuneration more attractive local people would find the police service a preferential career choice and retention would improve.
In the new financial year the RFIP and Human Resources Department would (as approved by Executive Council and Standing Finance Committee) be recruiting the additional staff members, firstly at a local level and then overseas if local appointments could not be achieved, he said.