Police cuts will take toll: new union chief

 PAT Allen says he's not afraid to speak his mind.

But the new president of the Police Association of Tasmania also says he hopes more issues can be resolved through negotiation.

Constable Allen, who has been involved with the union executive for about 12 years, admits he has taken on the role at one of the worst times for the union: cuts to the police budget are starting to hit and a new enterprise agreement will be negotiated this year.

``It is daunting, however, it is a challenge I'm looking forward to . . . I'm ready, I've got the time to do it, I've got the passion to do it,'' Constable Allen said.

He said the state police force was stretched as a result of budget cuts.

``It's a snowball that's only just starting to have an effect,'' he said.

Coming from the police radio room, Mr Allen said he had seen first-hand the pressures on police.

``They're now skipping from job to job,'' he said.

``They're having less time to try and put the files together, less time to do the paperwork at the end of the shift.''

He also said the statistics did not tell the full story, with stretched radio room officers not logging every job in the system.

He said police would not be able to continue to attend as many call-outs and that other options, such as giving advice over the phone and online reporting for smaller incidents, may need to be considered.

``We make it work but there will come a breaking point and when it does, look out whatever government's in,'' he said.

He said he hoped to be able to negotiate more issues at a lower level before involving the commissioners.

``There'll be no beating around the bush . . . but I can see both sides of an argument; I can see management's perspective as well as the union's,'' he said.

Constable Allen takes over from former president Randolph Wierenga, who held the post for 10 years.

Constable Allen said it was difficult to run against a friend but that he was approached by members who wanted change and a firmer line taken on some issues.

He said he and Sergeant Wierenga had remained friends. `He's given me some really good advice . . . he'll certainly tell me when I'm going wrong,'' Constable Allen said.

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