Police from Western Australia are to target experienced Hong Kong officers to make up for a shortage in the Australian state and to meet a Royal Commission recommendation for a more racially diverse force. West Australian Assistant Commissioner for Professional Development Mal Skeffington plans to make a reconnaissance trip to Hong Kong this week to approach retired officers for advice on recruitment. Western Australia Police Union president Michael Dean said the Australian force may even work with Hong Kong police to develop a scheme where officers could work in the state for a five-year period. Of the 5,000 police in Western Australia, only 25 per cent have more than five years' on-the-job experience. The force also needs to fill 250 positions next year. Mr Dean said the force was looking for officers below sergeant level with plenty of experience. The plan to target Hong Kong officers follows the recruitment of 180 police from Britain. Officers from Singapore will also be approached. 'What Western Australia offers is a great lifestyle - nice beaches, good climate, clean air - and the officers will be made to feel very welcome here,' Mr Dean said. 'The legal and training systems used by the two forces are also similar and we believe many will see this as a good opportunity to come to Australia, especially those with young families,' he said. Mr Dean said there was an 'extreme' skills shortage in the force, with many officers and potential recruits seeking work in the booming mining industry. The Australian Federal Police was also believed to be targeting Hong Kong's officers, he said. Hong Kong Inspectors Association president Tong Liu Kit-ming said the recruitment drive would not hurt the force as past experience had shown few officers would take up the offer. Many of the officers who left before the 1997 handover returned to Hong Kong. 'We have to look at this as a benefit as it will bring the two forces closer together,' Mr Liu said. 'What it also reveals is that our police are well up to the world standard.' A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong police said the force offered many incentives to officers, including training and career development and other welfare services. Hong Kong Police are recruiting 1,200 constables and 50 inspectors a year, double the number being hired before a freeze. About a quarter of the new recruits to the force are university graduates.