13 Oct 2016

Illegal guns a focus for new Police Assn president

9:44 am on 13 October 2016

Newly elected Police Association President Chris Cahill will focus on frontline staffing and restriction of firearms.

Police Association President Chris Cahill.

Chris Cahill replaces Greg O'Connor. Photo: Supplied

The veteran detective told Morning Report that making sure firearms were registered would minimise the risk of them entering the wrong hands.

"The big issue is to actually get the guns off the street."

Mr Cahill, who replaces Greg O'Connor after 21 years in the role, said the law should be changed so all guns were registered.

Anyone with the right licence can import military assault style rifles, he said, but the problem was where they go once they're in the country.

"Because they're not registered to individual owners they go missing, they get stolen, and we don't even know what's out there." The importation of firearms also needed to be restricted, he said.

The most urgent issue facing police was understaffing, especially on the front line.

"Our staffing on the front line is at crisis point. There's staff that are working 10-hour shifts and don't even get a meal break because they're just going from job to job."

The staffing problem shortage was partly due to a higher population and an increase in crime - but also because police had been pulled from the front line to work on initiatives that had been brought in without extra resources.