Why does any association exist? What purpose do they serve for members who sign up to join them? Well, there are a number of reasons for the establishment of these organizations, depending on the industry they serve. However, their overriding purpose is to connect people sharing a common interest, role, or mission and to enrich the members through various means and ways. 

Most countries worldwide have a number of police associations set up to serve the policemen and women in this industry. In Australia, the first police association to be established was in 1910. Today, most states in the country have a police association for members of law enforcement agencies throughout Australia. 

But, why do police associations actually exist? What purpose do they serve for the police officers that sign up as members? Read on to find out more about the valuable role police associations play. 

9 Reasons Why Police Associations Exist

1. Advocacy for Members’ Welfare

Police associations advocate for the work and welfare of their members. They strive to lobby for the rights of police officers both on a local and national level. Advocacy also includes drawing up policy documents that talk specifically to the industry. A police association also helps with providing specialized or technical information when it’s needed. 

2. Build and Support the Police Community

A police association allows for members of the force to connect and share common interests. By building a community that shares the same purpose, the association gives its members a place to share ideas. They can interact through various platforms such as social media and online forums and are able to express opinions at meetings. 

3. Give Access to Informative Resources

Knowledge is power and police associations go out of their way to provide resources to build their members’ understanding of the industry. This could be in the form of:

  • Research papers
  • Weekly newsletters
  • Informational magazines
  • Websites
  • Informative journals are published to keep police officers up to date with the latest developments and happenings in their sector

4. Provide Legal and Financial Advice

Most police associations offer their members legal and financial advice. Police officers are able to ask for insight on workplace rights, remuneration, and conditions applicable to their industry. If necessary, legal support can be made available to members. Police associations will also advise their members on financial matters such as superannuation outcomes and planning retirement. 

5. Offer Critical Incident Support for Members

Working in the police force involves operating in dangerous situations. Police associations offer critical incident support to their members. This includes incidents such as being caught up in a shooting, having a motor vehicle accident while in pursuit of a death of a suspect in custody. This 24/7 support is vital for protecting members of the police force while performing their jobs within the guidelines of the law. 

6. Handling Disputes

A police association will be able to handle disputes for its members. This includes matters such as:

  • Negotiations involving enterprise agreements. 
  • Support in handling disputes around suspensions
  • Matters concerning salaries. 

7. Provide Members With Discounted Products and Services

Being a member of a police association comes with a range of benefits including discounts on various products and services. Examples:

  • A police association will organise insurance coverage for its members at a reduced rate, covering both illnesses and injuries.
  • Free health and safety advice is made available by the skilled team working at the association. 
  • The association will ask other organisations for discounts on their products and services to be made available to their members. 

8. Support Regarding Mental Health Issues 

Mental health is often ignored in many industries. But, police associations are beginning to see the necessity of supporting police officers when they’re dealing with mental health issues. Australian studies have highlighted the problems associated with mental health faced by its police officers. Police associations are advocating for mental health support for their members by setting up network services. 

9. Protecting Service Dogs and Horses 

Australian police associations have taken it one step further by extending legal support to the police force dogs and horses. By implementing specific laws related to these service dogs and horses, the animals are protected against negligence and harm. Should harmful incidents happen, affecting the police dogs or horses, the offender will be charged legally. 

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Final Thoughts 

Police associations exist for a number of valuable reasons, to support the policemen and women working in law enforcement agencies. These organizations provide a platform for their members to form a community with like-minded people who share a common interest and purpose. But, they also act as advocates for their members, ensuring their welfare is protected at all times. 

A police association is often made up of experts in the police sector, providing a skilled team who can advise and support their members professionally. Clearly, police associations play a crucial role in the lives of all their members.