Senior Constable Fired Over 2021 Vaccine Mandates As Police Force Faces Recruitment Crisis

“He said he feared I might refuse another order again under similar circumstances…”

The Deputy Commissioner of WA Police has handed down a dismissal for a 15-year veteran officer, citing non-compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination mandate in December 2021.
Senior Constable Ben Falconer shared a detailed three-to-four-page summary outlining the Deputy Commissioner’s decision to fire the officer, which included acknowledging Falconer’s exemplary conduct throughout his career and glowing reports from supervisors.
Despite these commendations, the Deputy Commissioner expressed concern over the possibility of Falconer refusing future orders under similar circumstances.

“He said he feared I might refuse another order again under similar circumstances,” the dismissed officer recounted. “I agree that he was afraid, but the rest was a little thin, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

Leslie Finlay, a public service officer employed in the Police Department, was also involved in the case.

“The court confirmed the direction to get vaccinated, which was given to police officers and police staff, was lawful,” WA Police said in an April statement after two appeals were dismissed.

At the time, Falconer said the purpose of the litigation was to discover the rights WA employees have over their own bodies in the workplace.

“The government and judiciary have formed a perspective on that, and we the people need to reflect on where that leaves us,” he said.

The officer’s dismissal was finalized once signed off by the Commissioner, marking a significant moment in the ongoing debate over vaccine mandates and individual rights within law enforcement.

Falconer’s dismissal comes as WA Police face an ongoing recruitment crisis.

According to The Noticer, the force saw 473 officers resign in 2022 alone, prompting WA Police to look overseas for new recruits and setting a target of 750 officers from New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Ireland over the next five years.

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