Acting Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz has been awarded the International Association of Women Police's Officer of the Year award.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz has been awarded the International Association of Women Police's Officer of the Year award. Contributed

Top cop fights for more women in force

LEADING police officer Debbie Platz wants the ratio of men to women in her service to balance out and is determined to achieve her goal.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Platz's focus on recruiting and retaining women in the Queensland Police Service has been recognised with the International Association of Women Police's Officer of the Year award.

The Mountain Creek resident travelled to Barcelona in Spain earlier this month to receive the award after being nominated by her boss, Commissioner Ian Stewart.

Act. Ass. Comm. Platz began her policing career more than 30 years ago, working in the North Coast region between 1990 and 2012.

She worked in general duties, child protection, prosecutions and as a staff officer to the Assistant Commissioner during her years on the Coast.

Since transferring to Brisbane in 2012 she has worked on the flood inquiry review and in various roles around the city until her most recent appointment in the People Capability Command.

She is is responsible for recruitment and training of all police and staff members including specialised training as well as safety and wellbeing of all staff.

Mentoring and coaching other officers, particularly women officers, was one of the criteria for the award she received.

"I had a vision when I joined the Queensland Police Service and it is perhaps the same vision that many who join policing have and that is to help the people in the communities we serve,” Act. Ass. Comm. Platz said.

"Later in my career I have learnt that I not only have a vision to help the community but I also have one to help those working within our organisations, particularly women.

"I believe that it is true that we need policing services that truly reflect our communities.

"As far as diversity of women is concerned - our organisations should be approximately 50% women.

"Sadly that is not the case in most jurisdictions.”

She said she needed a committed team to keep fighting for the vision and was grateful for the support received so far.

"It was a great honour (to receive the award) but it was my pleasure really to share it with our team who always provide me with great support allowing me to do what I do.

"It recognises not only the work I do but the great work being conducted by the Queensland Police Service as a whole.”

Act. Ass. Comm. Platz said the most obvious challenges faced by women in policing were sexual harassment and discrimination.

"Reports into the Victorian police force and the Australian Federal Police have indicated that this is an insidious problem with up to 47% of those interviewed stating they had suffered in the past five years.

"Of course males can be victims too but are under-represented in the reviews when compared to females.” 

She said improvements could be made to increase the number of women in policing.

"We could do better by targeting our recruitment strategies to get the right females at the right time.

"Currently only about 30% of our applicant pool is females.

"Of course it does not matter how many you recruit if the retention strategies are not right.

"The Queensland Police Service is currently doing a revision of flexible work practices to try and encourage members, particularly women, to stay.” 

Act Ass Comm Platz said policing was a "wonderfully diverse” career.

"It provides so many opportunities for officers from rural and remote policing to cities and towns, from detectives, general duties to scenes of crime officers.

"You should take up any opportunity that is offered to you to gain development and experience.

"This helps you to be innovative and successful.”