We've got your backs, mate: Australian police step up recruitment pitch to 'steal' hundreds of officers by luring them Down Under – promising they won't drag them through hell if they shoot someone

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  • Are you a UK police officer who has moved to Australia? Please email your story, with photos, to rory.tingle@mailonline.co.uk 

To British firearms officers, it could be a tempting recruitment offer from police in Australia: ‘We’ve got your backs, mate.’

The authorities Down Under yesterday stepped up their pitch to hire UK officers – pledging they wouldn’t drag them through years of hell if they shot someone.

The message will not be lost amid the current furore over a Met policeman charged with the murder of Chris Kaba, who was shot in south London last year.

Western Australia is pursuing an audacious bid to ‘steal’ hundreds of police officers by luring them from Britain to work in the sunshine.

It can be revealed that more than 1,400 applied to make the move after the huge recruitment drive was launched in February promoting the area’s wine regions, coral reefs and culinary scene.

Are you a UK police officer who has moved to Australia? Please email your story, with photos, to rory.tingle@mailonline.co.uk 

Police officers Anna Miller and Ben Woods (pictured) both left the UK and moved to Australia to start a new life

Police officers Anna Miller and Ben Woods (pictured) both left the UK and moved to Australia to start a new life 

Mr Woods while he was working in Britain
Ms Miller in Britain

Western Australia is pursuing an audacious bid to ‘steal’ hundreds of police officers like Mr Woods and Ms Miller (seen while working in Britain) by luring them to work in the sunshine

Ms Miller moved to Perth with her family seven weeks ago. She's seen with her husband Andrew and their three children, Isabelle, seven, Tom, six and Emma, three

Ms Miller moved to Perth with her family seven weeks ago. She’s seen with her husband Andrew and their three children, Isabelle, seven, Tom, six and Emma, three

And as the first cohort of 23 Brits was sworn in this week – in a ceremony under ‘magnificent clear blue skies’ – the message from Aussie police chiefs was clear: ‘We protect our officers.’

Western Australia’s minister for police Paul Papalia told the Mail: ‘It’s very topical because yesterday we had a fatal shooting by police in Kalgoorlie. 

‘Without speaking in advance of the full investigation, I can tell you that our police officers behaved incredibly well. I’ve seen the body-worn camera footage. 

‘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.’

Mr Papalia said that within an hour of the fatal shooting – of a 58-year-old man who had charged at officers with a gun – the commissioner of police and a local senator had publicly backed the officers.

Anna Miller, a 38-year-old recruited from West Yorkshire Police, said moving to Australia had made her feel ‘supported and appreciated’.

Speaking from Perth, Western Australia, where she moved with her family seven weeks ago, she told the Mail: ‘The biggest thing we like here is the appreciation for the police. I did not feel at all appreciated in the UK. In Australia, the community support their cops and they trust them.

‘The feeling among myself and colleagues [in the UK] was that officers weren’t backed… it feels a little bit, as police officers, they will happily throw you under a bus to present a [more positive] picture to the public. 

‘Don’t get me wrong, I had some fantastic supervisors, but I think policing as a whole, I don’t think they feel supported.’

Ms Miller worked at West Yorkshire Police for 15 years. She moved to Australia with her husband Andrew and their children Isabelle, seven, Tom, six, and Emma, three, for ‘an adventure’, saying: ‘It gives us the outdoor active lifestyle we wanted. 

‘It’s fantastic. There is so much to do on your doorstep – we went kayaking and saw seals, there is snorkelling, fantastic cycle paths and the Australian people are so chilled, friendly and have an enthusiasm for life.’

Ben Woods, a 33-year-old sergeant from Sussex Police, added: ‘My colleagues were naturally sad to see me go, but are now sick of my social media – “can you stop posting beautiful beaches, and posting views with koalas”.’

He said: ‘[Perth] is one of the cleanest, tidiest cities I’ve ever been to. The sunrises and sunsets are just phenomenal. The crime rates are clearly lower, there’s no graffiti, no gangs of kids – it feels like a nice safe place to be.’

The pair were sworn in as constables of the Western Australia Police Force on Monday, giving their allegiance to King Charles III, in a ceremony with an aboriginal theme. 

Mr Woods said: ‘An aboriginal lady came in and read scripture welcoming us, giving us strength and good spirits.’ 

Mr Woods, a 33-year-old sergeant from Sussex Police, added: 'My colleagues were naturally sad to see me go, but are now sick of my social media'

Mr Woods, a 33-year-old sergeant from Sussex Police, added: ‘My colleagues were naturally sad to see me go, but are now sick of my social media’

He said: '[Perth] is one of the cleanest, tidiest cities I've ever been to. The sunrises and sunsets are just phenomenal'

He said: ‘[Perth] is one of the cleanest, tidiest cities I’ve ever been to. The sunrises and sunsets are just phenomenal’

Peppermint leaves were lit to create aromatic smoke, and Ms Miller said: ‘The smoke and the ceremony was around wishing us well, good luck and keeping us safe. It was lovely.’

READ MORE: We left the NHS after being sold the Australian dream – here’s why it’s NOT the fairytale promised

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All police officers in Western Australia are armed, meaning most UK recruits will need firearms training. 

Ms Miller said: ‘I don’t have a strong feeling. It’s just a piece of kit that officers have. I’ll learn how to use it.’

The police minster told the Mail: ‘We protect our officers. They’ve all got tasers, Glocks [pistols] and body armour.’

Mr Papalia said: ‘I’m intent on stealing your best people. Unashamedly. You guys have been taking our best for decades, it’s a rite of passage for Australians to go to the UK.

‘We’re aiming for 150 police officers this month, and 150 every year thereafter for five years. They come from a variety of forces. I’ve met all of them. They’re a good crowd. 

‘They all love policing and had their expectations met when doing swearing in – the skies in Perth were magnificent clear blue skies. Everything they had hoped for.

‘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.

‘The response has been extremely positive, meaning WA Police can handpick the best of the best.’

In a nod to the ‘Ten Pound Poms’ scheme introduced after the Second World War, Western Australia’s shameless ambition is to grab 31,000 British workers, with police joining doctors, nurses and construction workers. 

Mr Woods posing for the camera during a visit to an animal park

Mr Woods posing for the camera during a visit to an animal park 

They can ‘have it all’, with energy bills almost half in Australia, allowing the savings to be spent on 183 pints of beer, 110 roast dinners or 500 jars of Marmite, boasted Mr Papalia.

The British Medical Association revealed before Christmas that a third of junior doctors are planning to leave the UK – with the majority choosing Australia or New Zealand.

The NHS is battling shortfalls of 12,000 hospital doctors and more than 50,000 nurses and midwives.

An Australian delegation arrived in the UK on February 25 and held jobs fairs in London, Edinburgh and Bristol. 

The scheme also targeted those in other professions hit by labour shortages including miners, plumbers, mechanics and builders.

Almost 25,000 applications to get documents needed to secure a job overseas were made to UK healthcare regulators in 2022. The vast majority represent NHS workers. 

The toll, uncovered by a MailOnline investigation, dwarfs the 10,000 figure seen before Covid struck. 

Senior leaders in the health service warned ‘the exodus is only just beginning’ and said the stats should ‘stun ministers into action’. 

This chart shows the number of UK registered doctors who have requested documents for a job application overseas over the past five years. Interest peaked in 2022, but 2023 is also on track to be a bumper year

This chart shows the number of UK registered doctors who have requested documents for a job application overseas over the past five years. Interest peaked in 2022, but 2023 is also on track to be a bumper year

Interest in making a move overseas for nurses and midwives exploded last financial year,  with over 16,000 applications

Interest in making a move overseas for nurses and midwives exploded last financial year,  with over 16,000 applications

Disgruntled NHS medics say the pandemic has shone a light on how poorly they are valued in the UK, a factor that helped launched a wave of strike action across the UK to boost their pay. 

Australia has also launched a wave of ‘cheeky’ tactics touting the merits of a move Down Under, such as deploying mobile billboards to NHS strike picket lines to recruit disenfranchised medics. 

Yet some medics who’ve made the move Down Under have complained that it’s not exactly the dream some are selling.  

British health staff wanting to apply for a job overseas need to get documents from their UK regulator as part of the application.

These prove to their potential employers they don’t have any marks on their record, their training is up to date, and they can be trusted with patients. 

Figures obtained by MailOnline reveal nearly 7,000 doctors applied for documents to support an application to work abroad from the British medical regulator, the General Medical Council (GMC), in 2022.

This was up from 6,100 in 2019. 

Separate figures for 2023, which only go up until May, suggest this year will see an even bigger exodus, with almost 3,500 applying for their documents so far. 

For nurses and midwives, the figures are even starker. 

While Australia topped the list for both destinations other countries like the US and the United Arab Emirates are also of interest for UK medics looking for greener pastures

While Australia topped the list for both destinations other countries like the US and the United Arab Emirates are also of interest for UK medics looking for greener pastures 

Interest in life Down Under has peaked for nurses and midwives in the most recent financial year, with some 4,000 applications made

Interest in life Down Under has peaked for nurses and midwives in the most recent financial year, with some 4,000 applications made 

Nearly 16,000 similar applications were made in 2022/23 — compared to just under 5,500 in 2018, according to the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). 

Pristine beaches and sunny weather appear to have convinced many to seek a job in Australia.

Australia topped the charts for total applications in both professional groups. 

Nearly 9,000 doctors have applied to work Down Under in the last five years. A third of these were made in 2022/23.

And Australian efforts to lure medics Down Under appear to be paying off. 

Data from the Australian Medical Council, the Aussie equivalent of the GMC, show almost 1,000 British medics signed up in 2021/22, the latest data available, up 16 per cent on the year before, and the biggest number of any nation. 

This is equivalent to roughly half the UK medics who applied to work Down Under getting a job there. 

For nurses and midwives, 11,000 applications were made to Australia since 2017/18.

But the number has accelerated in recent years, with 4,000 making an application in the last financial year alone. 

Are you a UK police officer who has moved to Australia? Please email your story, with photos, to rory.tingle@mailonline.co.uk 







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