SA Police union rejects mandatory vax order

The South Australian police union has rejected SAPOL’s mandatory vaccination directive and lamented a “division” among its members on the issue, and the association is demanding that unvaccinated police officers be assigned to other duties rather than withdraw.

Delegates from the South Australian Police Association met on Thursday to discuss a directive given by SA Police last week requiring all employees to have at least one COVID-19 sting by 15 November.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens on Wednesday said about 90 percent of SAPOL staff indicated they were vaccinated.

The Police Association also acknowledged after its meeting on Thursday that 90 percent of members indicated they were or intended to be vaccinated.

But the union also said delegates “support the individual right of each member to undertake vaccination at will rather than coercion.”

“Delegates believe that members should be free to make personal health decisions under the principle of informed consent, without the fear of losing their job or suffering another undeserved punishment,” the union said in a statement after the meeting.

“Delegates understand the concern that retiring unvaccinated will exacerbate existing staffing problems in the workplace.

“Delegates do not support the division that now exists between members on this issue.”

The union resolved after the meeting to seek legal opinion on “the position of members unwilling to be vaccinated” and called on the police commissioner to “immediately enter into negotiations with the association regarding the industrial implications for those affected by his direction”.

Stevens earlier in the week indicated that SAPOL will have to “develop a process” to deal with unvaccinated officers in the future.

“We had some employees asking questions related to their choices,” Stevens told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

“So at this stage it is too early to say exactly how many police officers or other employees will choose not to be vaccinated.

“We’ll have to figure out how we manage those people going forward.”

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