Ex-cop unhappy about dismissal due to vaccine refusal

But NSW police says every officer removed had right to seek review, and IRC said direction was lawful

Ex-cop unhappy about dismissal due to vaccine refusal

A former cop in New South Wales has revealed that he got "severe depression" after being sacked for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Justin Poore, who was also a former National Rugby League player, was one of the 55 NSW Police officers who was dismissed for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.

Speaking to A Current Affair, the ex-cop said that it has been "hard" since getting removed from duty.

"Mental health has been terrible. I had severe depression for two years. Some days I couldn't get out of bed," he told A Current Affair.

NSW Police vaccine mandate

The NSW Police previously mandated its employees to have their primary doses of COVID-19 vaccine by November 30, 2021.

Those who failed to comply were removed under the Section 181D of the Police Act 1990, which states that the Commissioner may remove police officers if they no longer have confidence in their suitability to continue their duties.

Poore said this was reserved for "corrupt police officers."

"People that force subpoenas, people that steal money, people that steal drugs, people that do the wrong thing and break the law in a way that is irreversible," he said.

He added that not only is he classified as a corrupt police officer, but it also ruined his future employment.

"It's ruined any job prospects that I wanted to have if I wanted to do anything in the Federal Police, you can't join the New South Wales Police, you can't get a security licence, you'd be lucky to get a job at Coles," he said. "You're untouchable. No one's gonna touch you. You wouldn't employ that person."

Poore's case, along with other 54 police officers, is different from other members of the NSW whose jobs were affected due to the vaccine mandate.

A police officer who voluntarily resigned from the post for not getting the vaccine could reapply and get reinstated. This is also the case for police officers who went on extended leave without pay for refusing the jabs.

Applicants to the police academy in Goulburn are also no longer required to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination.

Poore said it feels "vindictive" that these individuals are still welcomed into the NSW Police, adding that he also wants his job back.

NSW Police statement

The NSW Police, however, maintained that the commissioner has lost confidence in the suitability of the 55 police officers.

In a statement, the organisation said the commissioner expected those officers to abide by a lawful direction concerning the issue of safety.

"Every officer who was removed had the right to seek a review of their removal order at the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC)," the statement said as quoted by 9News. "The IRC has consistently held that the Commissioner's direction was lawful."

Termination a 'disgrace'

NSW MP John Ruddick commented last March that the NSW Police's move was "absurd."

"There is no suggestion that any of these police officers met the definition of a 181D, but I understand they have one on their record," Ruddick said in Parliament.

He questioned why the government continues to be "malicious" towards the police officers, considering that the Queensland Supreme Court already ruled that COVID-19 vaccine mandates "breached human rights law."

"Is the government fearful of paying compensation for wrongful dismissal? We are only talking about 55 officers, so it is a rounding error in the New South Wales budget," Ruddick said.

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