Australia is poaching British police by telling them that it “backs” officers who shoot suspects in the wake of the Chris Kaba scandal.
Last week a Metropolitan Police officer was charged with murdering Mr Kaba, a 24-year-old black man who was shot dead in south London in September 2022. The charge led to a walkout among the force.
It came as authorities in Western Australia are pushing to “steal” hundreds of British police officers, enticing them with higher wages and the prospect of better protection.
More than 1,400 officers have already applied to make the move since the programme was launched in February.
“I’m intent on stealing your best people. Unashamedly,” Paul Papalia, Western Australia’s police minister, told the MailOnline.
“Western Australia is a great place to live and work. Compared to the UK, we have higher wages, a lower cost of living and the perfect climate for year-round adventure.
Mr Papalia said that his ambition was to recruit 150 officers in September, and a further 150 a year for the next five years. Officials are currently assessing about 300 applications received so far.
“They come from a variety of forces. I’ve met all of them. They’re a good crowd,” he said of the first recruits.
“The response has been extremely positive, meaning WA [Western Australia] Police can handpick the best of the best.”
Appealing directly to potential British applicants, he added: “We’ve got your backs, mate.”
Most British recruits will need firearms training, because all police officers in Western Australia are armed.
“We protect our officers. They’ve all got tasers, Glocks [pistols] and body armour,” Mr Papalia said.
He referenced a recent shooting where officers were publicly backed by the commissioner of police and a local senator within hours of the incident.
“It’s very topical because yesterday we had a fatal shooting by police in Kalgoorlie,” he said.
Mr Papalia added that he was waiting for the results of a full investigation into the incident, but said that the officers involved had “behaved incredibly well”.
“I’ve seen the body-worn camera footage,” he said.
“They acted entirely in accordance with their protocols, responsibly and properly. Sadly, they’ve had to shoot someone for their own protection. They did it absolutely correctly.”
‘Cops don’t feel supported’
Officers who have made the jump to Australia have said that colleagues in Britain are being “thrown under a bus” by police chiefs and politicians amid the furore involving Mr Kaba’s shooting.
“As a UK officer I did not feel at all appreciated,” said Anna Miller, 38, a mother of three who used to work for West Yorkshire Police.
“Over in Australia, the community support their cops,” she told The Times.
One of Ms Miller’s former colleagues has also been accepted by the Western Australian force and two others are considering applying, she said.
“The feeling among myself and my colleagues is officers weren’t backed,” Ms Miller added.
“As a police officer, they [police chiefs] will happily throw you under a bus to present a positive picture to the public. I don’t feel [that] cops feel supported.
“The biggest thing that the police in the UK could benefit from to improve morale is feeling that the media, the Government and everyone has their back a little bit.”
Ms Miller was among the first cohort of 23 British officers sworn in to the Western Australian ranks at a ceremony last week.