The union representing the Territory’s cops has labelled the NT Police executive’s move to transfer Maningrida’s top cop out of the community before he retires “shameful treatment” of a respected officer with more than two decades with the force.
Sergeant Kim Chambers lost a court battle in the Supreme Court on Monday to stop the transfer out of the community before he retired in July.
Sgt Chambers had run the Maningrida police station for more than 10 years and wanted to end his policing career in the community. But the police brass ordered him to leave the community to serve out his days in Darwin.
The court ruled the executive had the power to order transfers and rejected Sgt Chambers’ bid to remain in Maningrida.
NT Police Association president Paul McCue said a respected officer with more than 20 years of service should not have been treated like that by the executive.
“We accept the decision … however, we argue [it] was not only about what was lawful, but what was the right thing to do – how we treat our people,” he said in a statement to members.
“…He has dedicated his long career in remote policing, having served all but three years in remote postings, including the last 10 years as Sergeant of Maningrida Police Station.
“To transfer him, against his will, and against many supportive local community members, is shameful treatment given he has provided outstanding service for a decade to that community, one he wanted to remain at until taking leave this year before retirement.”
Mr McCue added that the decision to transfer Sgt Chambers lacked common sense, stating “this is not how veterans of the police force should be treated” and pointing out that Sgt Chambers had run the station when it was below 50 per cent of what staffing levels should have been.
“Now to say thanks, the NT Police refuse to allow him to stay a further five months until he can leave proudly and with dignity,” he said.
“The irony in all of this is if an emergency occurred in Maningrida today, it would be Sgt Chambers the department would call upon given his extensive connections to the local community, residents and immediate surrounds.”
The NT Police said Sgt Chambers remained “a valued member of the NT Police force”.
“The agency fully recognises the dedication and commitment of Sgt Chambers in the positions and locations he has served across the Territory in his 23-year career so far, and acknowledge the skills and experience that he has gained,” a statement said.
“The transfer and application of his skills and experience to less experienced staff in Darwin is welcomed and we look forward to Sgt Chambers using his ability to further supervise and develop those staff in his new location and role when he commences.”