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SA Police union rejects mandatory vax order

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South Australia’s police union has rejected a mandatory vaccination directive from SAPOL and lamented “division” between its members on the issue, with the association calling for unvaccinated police officers to be assigned to other duties rather than stood down.

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Delegates of the Police Association of South Australia met on Thursday to discuss a directive handed down by SA Police last week requiring all staff to have at least one COVID-19 jab by November 15.

Police commissioner Grant Stevens on Wednesday said around 90 per cent of SAPOL staff have indicated they’re vaccinated.

The Police Association also acknowledged after their meeting on Thursday that 90 per cent of members have indicated they have been or intend to be vaccinated.

But the union also said delegates “support each member’s individual right to undertake vaccination by choice 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 some other undeserved punishment,” the union said in a statement after the meeting.

“Delegates understand the concern that standing down unvaccinated will exacerbate the existing staffing issues within the workplace.

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

The union resolved after the meeting to seek legal opinion about “the position of members not willing to be vaccinated” and asked that the police commissioner “immediately enters into negotiation with the association in respect of the industrial implications for those affected by his direction”.

Stevens earlier in the week indicated SAPOL would have to “work out a process” for dealing with unvaccinated officers in future.

“We have had some staff making inquiries in relation to what their options are,” Stevens told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

“So at this stage it’s too early to tell exactly how many police officers or other staff will elect not to be vaccinated.

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

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