Police officers are leaving the West Australian force in record numbers, with their union describing an overseas recruitment drive as a band-aid solution.

Police Union acting president Paul Gale said 465 sworn police officers resigned last year and 97 retired – the highest number of resignations and retirements in the force’s 189-year history.

He said the total number of sworn officers was down from 7112 in 2021 to 6893 in 2022.

“The union supports the government’s overseas recruitment drive, however, this is only a band-aid solution,” Mr Gale said in a statement on Monday.

“It’s only a matter of time before these new recruits obtain permanent residency and become familiar with the many cultural and organisational issues in WA police.

“We know what these issues are – poor pay and conditions, rigid leadership, a lack of opportunity to share opinions and to progress careers.”

Mr Gale said the figures also showed officers no longer saw policing as a “job for life”.

“This is a very sad development in the history of WA police,” he said.