New South Wales Police Force

The New South Wales Police Force (NSW Police Force; previously the New South Wales Police Service and New South Wales Police) is the primary law enforcement agency of the state of New South Wales, Australia. Divided into Police Area Commands (PACs), for metropolitan areas and Police Districts (PDs), for regional and country areas,[6] the NSW Police Force consists of more than 400 police stations and over 18,000 officers, who are responsible for covering an area of 801,600 square kilometres and a population of more than 8.2 million people.[7][8][9]

New South Wales Police Force
MottoCulpam Poena Premit Comes
Punishment follows close on guilt
(Alternative translations: "Punishment is a companion pressing closely on crime", "Punishment swiftly follows crime")[1]
Agency overview
Annual budgetA$4.13 billion (2020/21)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction New South Wales, Australia
New South Wales in Australia.svg
New South Wales Police jurisdiction
Size809,444 square kilometres (312,528 sq mi)
Legal jurisdictionAs per operations jurisdiction
Governing bodyGovernment of New South Wales
Constituting instrument
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersParramatta, New South Wales
Unsworn members4,107[2]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Police Boats52

Under the Police Regulation Act, 1862, the organisation of the NSW Police Force was formally established in the same year with the unification of all existing independent police units in the state. The authority and responsibility of the entire police force was given to the inspector general of police.[10]

The NSW Police Force currently operate with a strength of 21,455 employees (17,348 officers and 4,107 support staff), with 432 police stations, 3,300 vehicles, 52 boats, 9 aircraft and a budget of 4.8 billion AUD.[7][11][12]

Symbols, mission and authorityEdit

The motto of the NSW Police Force is the Latin Culpam poena premit comes ("Punishment follows closely upon the heels of crime").[13] The NSW Police insignia includes the motto.

Its coat of arms features the state badge; a soaring Australian wedge-tailed eagle carrying a scroll with the word Nemesis, the Greek goddess of chastisement and vengeance, and here signifies retribution and justice; a wreath and the St Edward's Crown, the crown of the Queen as the NSW head of state.[14]

The mission of the NSW Police Force, as set out in the Police Act 1990, is to work with the community to reduce violence, crime and fear.[15]

NSW Police aim to protect the community by;[15]

  • Preventing, detecting and investigating crime
  • Monitoring and promoting road safety
  • Maintaining social order
  • Performing and coordinating search and rescue operations

Police conduct a wide variety of further specialist duties undertaken by Specialist Commands.

Like all other states of Australia, local municipalities in NSW have only very limited law enforcement responsibilities. The police perform the primary law enforcement role in all areas of the state.


1788 – Early forms of law enforcementEdit

Law enforcement has existed in various forms since the foundation of the colony of New South Wales at Sydney in 1788. In order to protect the infant town against thieves and petty criminals after dark, Governor Arthur Phillip authorised the formation of a nightwatch in August 1789, consisting of eight of the best-behaved convicts.[16] After his appointment as the new governor of New South Wales, Governor Lachlan Macquarie restructured the police force in January 1811, setting up a basic system of ranks and control and recruiting free men into the force instead of convicts. Police units were under the rule of the district magistrates.

1825 – NSW Mounted PoliceEdit

After the conflict in 1824 with the Wiradjuri people around Bathurst and Mudgee, British authorities recognised the need for a mounted force to maintain control in frontier areas. As a result, the NSW Mounted Police was formed in the following year. Up until 1850, this force operated as de facto cavalry unit as the troopers were soldiers requisitioned from the British Army. Their main task in this period was to subjugate resisting groups of Aboriginals and capture bushrangers.[17] From 1850 the Mounted Police took on a more civilian role. In 2009, it had 34 horses and was claimed to be the oldest mounted police unit in the world.[18] Another specialist group formed during this time were the Water Police (formed in 1832).[16]

1839 – Border PoliceEdit

By this stage, the NSW government could not afford the cost of maintaining the Mounted Police along the expanding frontiers of the colony. A new frontier police consisting of mounted convict troopers, called the Border Police, was therefore established. The convicts assigned were mostly soldiers who had run afoul of the law. The Border Police was funded by a levy placed on the squatters who had brought livestock into the areas beyond the borders of settlement. In addition to controlling the Aboriginal and bushranger threats, the Border Police were also tasked with resolving land disputes with the squatters.[19]

1848 – Native PoliceEdit

With the end of convict transportation approaching, the Border Police was dissolved and replaced with another low-cost frontier force called the Native Police. This force consisted of Aboriginal troopers under the command of British officers. Exploiting intertribal hostility, the duty of this force was mostly to crush any Aboriginal resistance to the spread of British settlement. From 1859, the responsibility of the Native Police passed from the NSW government to the newly formed Queensland government.[20]

In the early 1850s, Victoria seceeded from New South Wales and they created their own force.[21]

1862 – Establishment of the police forceEdit

"The New South Wales Mounted and Foot Police" - circa 1887

As the colony expanded, a more sophisticated form of crime management was called for; this involved unifying all the police units into a single cohesive police force with the centralisation of authority. After a failed attempt made by Act No. 38 of 1850, unified control of the police eventuated in 1862 when the Police Regulation Act (1862) was passed, establishing the New South Wales Police Force. The first inspector general of police, John McLerie, was appointed to assume overall authority and responsibility. The Police Regulation (Amendment) Act, passed in 1935, changed the official title to commissioner of police, with its role clearly defined. The position of deputy commissioner was also created.[22]

Mounted police officers in 1890

By 1872, there were seventy police stations throughout the colony in sub-districts, with a total of 803 police officers. In June 1915, the first female police officers were appointed.[23] In 1961, the year before the centenary of the Police Force, the number of members of the force increased to 5717, which rose to a total strength of 15,354 in November 2008.[24]


After the formation of the New South Wales Police Force in 1862, most crimes were conducted by bushrangers, particularly during the Victorian gold rush years. Constable Byrne almost single-handedly fought off the Ben Hall gang when they attacked a gold escort at Major's Creek on 13 March 1865. Constable O'Grady was taken ill with cholera when, on 9 April 1866, he left his sick-bed to confront the Clarke gang, who were incorrectly renowned as being the "bloodiest bushrangers" of the colony of NSW and of Australia.[citation needed] Constable Walker was one of the earliest Australian-born mounted troopers to gain fame. He brought Captain Thunderbolt's enduring "bushranging" career to an end by shooting him near Uralla in New England, NSW.

Constable Ernest Charles Day (later the Inspector General of Police) showed courage under fire when he shot and captured bushranger Hobson, who was later hanged. Day later investigated a string of murders involving a hawker, Tommy Moore, by tracing his activities to South Australia, solving one of Australia's earliest serial-killer cases.[25]

1894 - ArmingEdit

Police officers in 1934

In 1894, a number of unarmed police were seriously injured while attempting to arrest a group of offenders as they attempted to break open a safe in the Union Steamship Company Office in Bridge Street, Sydney. The incident received wide publicity and was known as "Bridge Street Affray".[26]

Within 24 hours, the premier announced that all police would wear firearms at all times while on duty to prevent the escape of felons and to place them on an equal footing with armed criminals. Previously, only police in rural districts had been permitted to carry firearms.

Parliament subsequently passed legislation authorising the arming of all members of the NSW Police Force and all Police have carried firearms ever since.[27]

1979 - Lusher Commission of InquiryEdit

In 1979, the NSW government of Neville Wran called on Justice Edwin Lusher, a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales to chair a commission of inquiry into police administration.[28][29]

1990 - Police Service ActEdit

The Police Service Act, 1990 was introduced to replace the Police Regulation Act. The Police Force was consequently renamed to the "New South Wales Police Service", which reflected "community-based policing at the time" of the Greiner government[30] and the public's responsibility in crime control, aided by the police.[31] In accordance with the Police Service Amendment (NSW Police) Bill in 2002, the New South Wales Police Service was then renamed again to simply New South Wales Police.[32] The then Minister for Police, Michael Costa, explains:[33]

'NSW Police' is the name on which everybody signed off and it is the name with which we were to come to the Parliament... I do not believe we need the word 'service' in the name of the police force. I do not accept the argument that we need the word 'service' in a community-based policing approach.

In 2006, the Police Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill resulted in a name change for the third time, renaming the New South Wales Police to New South Wales Police Force.[34]

1991 - Amalgamation of special security unitsEdit

In June 1991, the State Protection Group (SPG) was formed, incorporating the former Special Weapons & Operations Section (SWOS), the Witness Security Unit, regional Tactical Response Groups and the Rescue Squad. The Security Management Branch and the Bomb Disposal Unit were later included in the group.

The New South Wales Police Force has grown to be the largest in Australia.[8]

1992 - Volunteering and NSW PoliceEdit

After much debate, the NSW Parliament passed the Police Service (Volunteer Police) Amendment Act, 1992, which sought to trial voluntary service within the police force, along the lines of the United Kingdom's special constabularies. The trial was not successful and lapsed with the automatic repeal of the Act in 1994. The successor to this scheme was the Volunteers in Policing (VIP) program which restricts volunteer participation to non-core administration and community tasks, without enforcement duties or other powers being granted.[35]

1995 - Wood Royal CommissionEdit

The 1990s were a turbulent period in NSW Police history. The Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service was held between 1995 and 1997. The Royal Commission uncovered hundreds of instances of bribery, money laundering, drug trafficking, and falsifying of evidence by police. Then Police Commissioner Tony Lauer resigned as the level of corruption within the service became clear, and his own position became untenable. Peter James Ryan was recruited from the United Kingdom. Wide-ranging reforms occurred as a result of the recommendations of the Royal Commission, including the establishment of a permanent Police Integrity Commission. The royal commissioner was Justice James Roland Wood. The terms of reference were to look into systemic and entrenched corruption within the New South Wales Police; towards the end of the Royal Commission it also investigated alleged paedophile activities within the police service. The Royal Commission uncovered hundreds of instances of bribery, money laundering, drug trafficking, and falsifying of evidence by police. Of particular note was the detective division of the Kings Cross patrol, of which almost all the senior ranks, including the chief detective, were involved in serious and organised corrupt activities, including taking regular bribes from major drug traffickers.

2003 – Police buggingEdit

In 2003, Strike Force Emblems was established in response to allegations that warrants were improperly obtained during Operation Mascot, an investigation into police corruption in the late 1990s. The warrants authorised a large number of people, mostly police officers, to have their private conversations 'bugged'. Nearly a decade later in October 2012, the New South Wales Government announced that the Ombudsman would investigate allegations concerning the conduct of officers in the NSW Police Force, the Crime Commission and the Police Integrity Commission in relation to the matters investigated in Strike Force Emblems which occurred between 1998 and 2002. The final hearings were not completed until 31 March 2015.

The Acting NSW Ombudsman, John McMillan's, report to Parliament was tabled on 20 December 2016.[36]

2015 - Police Headquarters ShootingEdit

On 2 October 2015, 15-year-old Iraqi-Kurdish boy Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar shot dead Curtis Cheng, a 58-year-old accountant who worked for the NSW Police Force, outside their Parramatta headquarters.[37][38][39] The 15-year-old then shot at responding special constables, and died from their gunfire. NSW Police commissioner Andrew Scipione said "We believe that his actions were politically motivated and therefore linked to terrorism". The attack appears to have similar motives to the 2014 Endeavour Hills stabbings.

Other Notable eventsEdit

NSW police officers have been involved in many notable events in the state's history, including the 1977 Sydney Hilton Bombing, 1986 Investigation into the murder of Anita Cobby, 1989 Grafton Bus Crash, 1989 Newcastle Earthquake, 1994 Arrest of serial killer Ivan Milat, 1997 Thredbo Landslide, 1999 Glenbrook Train Disaster, 2003 Waterfall Train Disaster, 2004 Redfern Riots, 2005 Macquarie Fields Riots, 2005 Cronulla Riots, 2005-2012 Manhunt for Malcolm Naden and 2014 Lindt Cafe Siege. They were responsible for the security of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, APEC Australia 2007 and World Youth Day 2008.


The current police headquarters in Parramatta
A standard police station.

Leadership StructureEdit

The headquarters of the New South Wales Police Force is located at 1 Charles Street, Parramatta, Sydney.

The current commissioner of the NSW Police Force is Mick Fuller, APM. The Minister for Police & Emergency Services, David Elliott, is responsible to the Parliament of New South Wales for the police portfolio.[7]

The force is split into four divisions, each overseen by a Deputy Commissioner;[7]

Metropolitan Field Operations - Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Loy APM

  • Central Metropolitan Region, North West Metropolitan Region, South West Metropolitan Region, Traffic & Highway Patrol Command and Police Transport & Safety Command

Regional Field Operations - Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys APM

  • Northern Region, Southern Region, Western Region and Capability, Performance & Youth Command

Investigations & Counter Terrorism - Deputy Commissioner David Hudson APM

  • Counter Terrorism & Special Tactics Command, State Crime Command, State Intelligence Command, Forensic Evidence & Technical Services Command and Police Prosecutions & Licensing & Enforcement Command

Corporate Services - Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon APM

  • Finance & Business Services, Shared Services, Human Resources Command, Education & Training Command, Digital Technology & Innovation, Professional Standards Command, Communications & Security Command and Police Property Group

Police Area Commands and Police DistrictsEdit

The states 432 police stations are organised into six Regions, which are then divided into Police Area Commands (PACs, consisting of metropolitan areas) and Police Districts (PDs, consisting of rural areas). Each region contains 7-12 PACs/PDs, which are listed by name and CAD prefix/vehicle ID;[40]

Central Metropolitan Region
EB Eastern Beaches PAC ES Eastern Suburbs PAC IW Inner West PAC KX Kings Cross PAC LE Leichhardt PAC SSY South Sydney PAC
SG St George PAC SH Surry Hills PAC SU Sutherland PAC SC Sydney City PAC
North West Metropolitan Region
BN Blacktown PAC BL Blue Mountains PAC HB Hawkesbury PAC KU Ku-Ring-Gai PAC MD Mount Druitt PAC NS North Shore PAC
NB Northern Beaches PAC PA Parramatta PAC NEP Nepean PAC QH Riverstone PAC RY Ryde PAC HI The Hills PAC
South West Metropolitan Region
AU Auburn PAC BK Bankstown PAC BU Burwood PAC CN Camden PAC CT Campbelltown PAC CA Campsie PAC
CMB Cumberland PAC FA Fairfield PAC LP Liverpool PAC
Northern Region
BW Brisbane Waters PD CC Coffs-Clarence PD HV Hunter Valley PD LM Lake Macquarie PD MGL Manning-Great Lakes PD MNC Mid North Coast PD
NCC Newcastle City PD PSH Port Stephens-Hunter PD RM Richmond PD TL Tuggerah Lakes PD TB Tweed-Byron PD TE Taree PD
Southern Region
LI Lake Illawarra PD MN Monaro PD MRY Murray River PD MBG Murrumbidgee PD Riverina PD South Coast PD
HME The Hume PD WG Wollongong PD
Western Region
BR Barrier PD CEN Central North PD CW Central West PD CF Chifley PD ND New England PD OR Orana-Mid Western PD
OX Oxley PD
Specialist Commands and Units
ACD Academy CIU Crash Investigation Unit CLM Central Metro


DOG Dog Squad FLT Fleet Trial Vehicle FTC Forensic Evidence & Technical


MTD Mounted Unit NTH Northern Region NWM North West Metro


ODN Strike Force Odin PDT Police Driver Training PORS Public Order & Riot


PTC Police Transport


RBT Random Breath Testing


RDT Random Drug

Testing Unit

R/RES Rescue Squad SLP School Liaison Police STH Southern Region
SWM South West Metro


TOU Tactical Operations Unit TRF Traffic Group WTN Western Region

Note: Some specialist units use region codes as their callsign, for example Highway Patrol and Regional Enforcement Squads, which utilise callsigns such as NWM212 and SWM511.

Specialist unitsEdit

Police Transport & Public Safety CommandEdit

The Police Transport Command (PTC) are a high visibility proactive policing unit responsibility for dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour on the public transport network. PTC officers deploy across public transport based on criminal intelligence and targeting known hot spots, in addition to conducting operations during high traffic events. Modes of transport covered by PTC include trains, busses, ferries, taxis and light rail. PTC work closely on operations with other specialist commands, such as the Dog Unit who assist in drug detection on public transport. PTC take part in Project Servator, a policing project designed to disrupt criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring police presence for the public. Project Servator officers are specially trained to spot tell-tale signs that someone is planning or preparing to commit a crime, and work to empower the public to remain vigilant and report when they see something unusual or suspicious.[41][42][43]

Marine Area Command officers on duty in Sydney Harbour

The Marine Area Command (MAC), commonly referred to as the Water Police, are responsible for policing the waterways and coast of NSW. The MAC operate a fleet of over 50 vessels along the NSW coast, tasked with crime prevention and detection on waterways, overseeing aquatic events and controlling spectator craft, co ordinating and conducting maritime search and rescue operations and enforcing safety and compliance among those on the water. The MAC are responsible for the waters up to 200 nautical miles off the NSW coast and operate 11 sea going vessels, including the OPV Nemesis the largest purpose built police boat in the Southern Hemisphere. The MAC frequently conduct high visibility policing operations, utilising their road vehicles to transport police boats and jet skis to target locations, including inland waterways such as lakes and rivers. The Marine Operations Support Team (MOST) conduct specialist marine operations such as ship boarding and marine security at major events. Police Divers conduct SCUBA operations, primarily conducting search and recovery operations for important evidence and missing persons.[44][45]

Mounted Unit officers on patrol at a festival

The Mounted Unit (see further NSW Police Mounted Unit) conduct policing operations on horseback. The unit operate 34 horses, providing crowd management at major events, supporting police during civil unrest and public order incidents, conducting search missions over tough terrain and general police patrols. The unit also conduct ceremonial duties.[46]

The Dog Unit, commonly referred to as the Dog Squad, provide specialist canines to support policing duties. General Purpose Dogs are used to support typical front line policing operations, with common tasks including tracking offenders, searching for evidence, searching for missing persons, supporting police officers in dangerous situations and conducting high visibility foot patrols in busy areas and at major events. The unit also utilise several different types of dogs for a number of specialist roles including:[47][48]

  • Tactical Dogs
  • Blood Hounds
  • Cadaver Dogs
  • Drug Detection Dugs
  • Explosive and Fire Arm Detection Dogs
  • Urban Search and Rescue Dogs

The Aviation Command, commonly referred to as Pol Air, operate a fleet of 9 aircraft which support policing from the air. Operations conducted by Pol Air include aerial patrols, tracking of offenders (including vehicle and foot pursuits), searching for missing persons (including suspects, the elderly, children and bushwalkers), searching for missing vessels and aircraft, conducting rescue missions (including water rescues with their trained rescue swimmers), providing air cover for major events and incidents, aerial surveillance, aerial speed enforcement, reconnaissance, counter terrorism operations and transporting specialist police elements and equipment. Aircraft are equipped with advanced integrated technology systems including high definition cameras, forward looking infra red, 30 million candle power search lights, live video downlink capability and advanced navigation programs. The fleet consists of six helicopters (3x Eurocopter AS350s, 2x Bell 412EPI and 1x Eurocopter EC135) and three fixed wing aircraft (2x Cessna 208 and 1x Cessna 206).[49][50][51][52]

The School Liaison Police (SLP), are officers who work with high schools to reduce youth crime, violence and anti-social behaviour through a range of school intervention strategies, educational programs and local relationships which model respect and responsibility. Officers develop and present programs in conjunction with teaching staff and act as a central point of contact on police, community and school issues. SLP officers may provide information, support and guidance on security, intervention strategies and child protection matters relating to the school as well as other issues relating to safety and community responsibility.[53][54]

Counter Terrorism & Special Tactics CommandEdit

The Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit (RBDU) provide specialised emergency support to police activities. Their capability includes conducting rescue operations, accessing and restraining suicidal persons and illegal demonstrators in precarious situations such as atop buildings, co ordination of land searches for missing persons, conducting complex body recoveries (such as people down cliffs) and crime scene support, including scene preservation, evidence protection and assisting investigators with logistics such as lighting and tents. The RBDU also provide the police force’s bomb squad capability.[55][52][56]

The Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS) (see further: NSW Police PORS) provide a surge capacity to support police operations, as well as a number of specialist support functions. The squad operate in teams of 3-4 from specially equipped black four wheel drives and are deployed across NSW on a regular needs basis. Their primary roles include crowd management, riot control, executing moderate risk search warrants, missing persons searches, evidence searches, disaster victim identification, chemical biological and radiological response, searches for explosive devices, high visibility policing at major events such as festivals and sports games, conducting high impact police operations in known trouble spots for violence such as Kings Cross and assisting at incidents in correctional facilities. The squad move freely around the city throughout the day, travelling to hot spot areas as they flare up. The squad are also equipped with M4 assault rifles and specialist training where they can provide a first response capability to active shooter and terror incidents.[52][57][58]

The Tactical Operations Unit (TOU) are responsible for the most dangerous and high risk police operations involving armed offenders in complex situations. The unit are equipped with specialist firearms including submachine guns, rifles and shotguns, along with specialist equipment and vehicles such as armoured Chevrolet vans and Lenco BearCat armoured vehicles. Their roles include high risk search warrants, the arrest of armed and dangerous criminals, dealing with active armed offenders, containing and resolving siege situations, dealing with complex situations such as barricaded suspects, hostage takings and hijackings and conducting counter terrorism operations. The unit are supported by the Tactical Operations Regional Support (TORS) unit, who provide a part time tactical response capability in the regional areas of the state, made up of regular officers who receive high level tactical operations training and equipment. There are a number of specialist roles within the unit including TOU Snipers and Intelligence Officers.[52][59][60]

The Negotiations Unit provide specialist negotiators responsible for negotiating with suicidal and emotionally disturbed persons, extortion/kidnapping situations, escapees, barricaded offenders, sieges and hostage situations.[59]

The Protection Operations Unit (POU) coordinates security operations within NSW for Internationally Protected Persons and public dignitaries considered to be at risk. Within the POU is the Witness Security Group, who are responsible for the security and protection of key witnesses, including the operation of safe houses.[59][61]

State Crime CommandEdit

The Drug and Firearms Squad conduct investigations into organised criminal networks involved in the supply, distribution and production of illicit drugs and firearms.[62]

The Criminal Groups Squad and Strike Force Raptor target groups and individuals who engage in serious and organised crime, in particular those who have a propensity for violence. This is achieved with proactive investigations and intelligence based, high impact policing operations with the intention of preventing and disrupting conflicts and prosecuting and dismantling networks engaged in serious criminal activity.[61][62]

The Organised Crime Squad targets high level organised crime, disrupting their activities, identifying the people and groups involved in organised crime groups and effecting their arrest. This includes targeting organised criminal activity connected with licensed casinos, the racing industry and money laundering activities.[62]

The Cybercrime Squad is responsible for investigating cyber enabled and cyber dependent crime. The squad investigate complex cyber offences requiring advanced technical skill and capability and processes all reports received through the Reportcyber portal, determining the appropriate course of action.[61][62]

The Homicide Squad is responsible for homicide investigations, including the investigation of murders, suspicious deaths, coronial investigations and critical incidents.[61][62]

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is responsible for investigating sex crimes that are protracted, complex, serial and serious in nature along with the physical and sexual abuse and neglect of children under 16. The squad maintain a child protection register and support local police investigations, as well as working closely with other local, federal and international law enforcement agencies.[62]

The Financial Crimes Squad is responsible for investigating fraud, identity crime, motor vehicle theft/re-birthing (including precious and scrap metal theft) and arson (including structural and bush fires).[61][62]

The Robbery and Serious Crime Squad are responsible for investigating robbery, extortion, kidnap for ransom, product contamination and other serious property crime, including major break in offences on commercial premises.[61][62]

Traffic and Highway Patrol CommandEdit

The Highway Patrol are responsible for road policing across the state, with the aim to minimise road trauma, promote orderly and safe road use and to ensure the free flow of traffic. Highway Patrol duties include patrols targeting driving behaviour, speed enforcement, registration enforcement, ensuring vehicles are safe and roadworthy, conducting random drug and alcohol testing (both during traffic stops and at dedicated roadside checkpoints), working with the Transport Management Centre to manage traffic during incidents, maintaining urgent road closures (such as during emergencies like bushfires), conducting emergency escorts for ambulances transporting critically injured patients (done in conjunction with the Transport Management Centre to provide a ‘green light corridor’), conducting urgent organ transports (typically between hospitals and airports) and leading vehicle pursuits within the safe driver policy.[63][64][65]

The Traffic Strike Force target specific aspects of road safety across the state, supporting local Highway Patrol in targeted patrols and operations. The strike force provide a surge capacity where police can saturation specific areas with patrols based on intelligence and local requests, along with providing the ability to conduct large scale traffic operations such as mass random breath and drug testing. The strike force also conduct long term operations such as Operation Free Flow and Operation Mercury, targeting main arterial roads.[63]

The Traffic Support Group (TSG) consists of a small task force of police motorcyclists, with the primary objective of providing VIP escort services for visiting dignitaries and heads of state. The group are also deployed in a similar manner to the Traffic Strike Force, where bikes are sent out into areas across the road network where required, where they target road safety issues along with specific offences such as the use of mobile phones while driving. The group also assist in providing medical escorts.[63]

The Joint Transport Task Force (JTTF) are a specialist Highway Patrol Task Force who target heavy vehicle safety and compliance. The team operate closely with NSW Roads and Maritime Services Heavy Vehicle Inspectors, conducting proactive operations where heavy vehicles are stopped and inspected by police and RMS at random roadside inspection points. They also operate in response to serious heavy vehicle incidents, conducting raids and blitz inspectors of bus and trucking yards of companies following serious and fatal accidents involving their heavy vehicles.[63][66][67][68]

Strike Force Puma (SF Puma) target high-risk drivers who display extreme and erratic behaviours, and those with a history of licence and drink/drug driving offences, who pose the highest risk to the community on the road. In a similar manner to how repeat domestic violence and drug offenders are targeted by dedicated police units, the strike force targets high risk drivers with a known dangerous history and multiple repeat offences. The team also investigate video footage obtained by police of dangerous driving from sources such as social media and dash cams.[63][69]

The Crash Investigation Unit (CIU) provide expertise in motor vehicle crash investigation, particularly crashes involving criminal offences. The unit attend and investigate fatal crashes resulting in death or where death is likely and serious crashes where criminal charges are likely. Other types of collisions investigated include where the serious crashes where the responsible party cannot be determined, serious crashes where a driver has fled the scene, serious crashes where an on duty police officer is involved and other major incidents of unusual nature such as bus accidents.[63][70]

Forensic Evidence & Technical Services CommandEdit

The Forensic Evidence & Technical Services Command (FETSC) has over 900 police and civilian staff to provide high quality forensic and technical services to assist investigations, prevent and disrupt crime, protect the community and serve the justice system.[61]

Some of the capabilities provided by the Command include:

  • Collection and analysis of physical and electronic evidence at crime and incident scenes.
  • Scientific analysis, interpretation of evidence and presentation of evidence to court.
  • Identification of persons through biometric means, fingerprints and DNA to assist in criminal, incident and coronial investigations.
  • Identification of persons through criminal history to provide background information to the court to inform decisions.
  • Criminal record and fingerprint-based background checking to assist in placing the 'right persons' in the 'right places' for specific jobs, visas, adoptions, to name a few.
  • Provision of forensic intelligence to assist solving crime across boundaries; linking crime across different evidence types.
  • Provision of advice and logistical support to the NSW Police response to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents and Disaster Victim Identification events.
  • Facilitation of targeted research and innovative development opportunities in collaboration with other forensic and educational institutions[61][71]

Education and trainingEdit

NSW Police Academy, GoulburnEdit

The New South Wales Police Force Academy at Goulburn

The New South Wales Police Academy is situated on 40 hectares of land in the town of Goulburn, in the southern tablelands of NSW, located 200 kilometres south of Sydney.[72]

The Academy buildings are extensive, consisting of 80 training facilities such as lecture theatres, classrooms, virtual weapons training facility, live fire indoor pistol range, a simulation training venue, scenario village, library, indoor and outdoor physical fitness areas, coin operated laundry facilities and Charles Sturt University Wi-Fi access. The Police Driver Training Complex is located approximately 5 km from the main Academy and comprises about 80 hectares of land, including specialist training facilities. The Goulburn Academy also boasts recreation and common room facilities, the Police Shop, Police Bank with ATM, St Michael's Police Chapel and access to a range of amenities available in the township of Goulburn. There are about 1000 people on site each day, including police officers, policing students, Charles Sturt University staff and contractors. Accommodation facilities consist of 816 single residential rooms, 30 motel style units, 10 flats and houses. Catering and cleaning are provided by external contractors, with the dining room serving approximately 2,000 meals daily.[72]

Located in the Memorial & Honour Precincts, the Academy has a number of memorials dedicated to the proud traditions of the New South Wales Police Force, namely the Walls of Remembrance at the College Chapel (which feature those who have died on duty on the northern side, and those who have served in war and peacekeeping operations on the southern side); the Rose Garden and Eternal Flame; the NSW Police Force Horse & Dog Memorial; and Heroes' Walk (featuring 15 bravery banners including George Cross, Cross of Valour, Star of Courage and George Medal police recipients). The latest aspect to the "proud traditions project" was the installation of the NSW Police Academy Peacekeeping display. The display features a range of memorabilia and photographs from peacekeeping missions which NSW Police Force members have contributed to. The display also features the Dag Hammerskjold Medal belonging to the late Sergeant Ian Ward, on loan from the AFP.[73][74]

Application and TrainingEdit

NSW Police applicants must have enrolled in and completed the University Certificate in Workforce Essentials (UCWE), an eight week course run by Charles Sturt University which introduces students to communication, resolving conflict with communication skills, legal framework, crime & policing, writing documents, ethical practices, cultural diversity, leadership & teamwork, workplace practices & obligations, technology, personal resilience and safe driving.[75]

After completing the UCWE, a First Aid Certificate and a Swim Rescue Test, an applicant can submit their Police Application.[76] Upon receipt of the Police Application, applicants undergo a number of background checks including detailed background vetting, employment checks and a thorough investigation of an applicants history.[77]

Applicants then undergo a physical assessment, a medical assessment and then a face to face interview with a 3 person panel. Applicants are then ranked and selected to attend the Goulburn Police Academy based on their scores.[78][79][80]

The Goulburn Police Academy program begins with 8 weeks of online lectures from home (Session 1 Block 1), before students attend the academy for 6 weeks of further training (Session 1 Block 2). Students then take part in a 1 week placement in a Police Area Command. Students then return to Goulburn for a further 16 weeks of training (Session 2).[81]

An important part of students training includes the use of weapons and police tactics. Students are trained in weaponless control, where they learn to apply defensive and restraining techniques in appropriate situations. Students are trained in the use of police appointments, including handcuffs, batons, capsicum spray and tasers. Students are also trained in the use of the Glock 22 service pistol. Students must be able to demonstrate positive weapons handling, marksmanship and a detailed understanding of the justifiable use of a firearm in accordance with NSW Police policy. Students are then faced with simulation training, where they’re required to demonstrate effective communication skills and operational tactics in a simulated initial response situation, while also demonstrating a professional and ethical understanding of legal use of force.[82]

Following the completion of Session 2, students receive an offer of employment from NSW Police They must then complete a further 42 weeks of online training (Sessions 3, 4 and 5) before finally graduating as a police officer.[81]

In total students receive 73 weeks of training, combining theory and practical skills ranging from shooting to driving. Following graduation, officers continue to maintain their skills through regular training and recertification, along with the ability to gain further specialist qualifications and skills in specialist police commands.[81][83]

Equipment and uniformEdit

Arms and appointmentsEdit

Police ArmouryEdit

The Police Armoury was established in 1872 and provides specialist engineering services, maintenance and supply of ammunition, firearms and weapons systems for the NSW Police Force.[84]


Members of the NSW Police are issued with the Glock 22 .40-calibre semi-automatic pistol. After the work of Task Force ALPHA 1992 and the research testing and report done by senior constable Darren Stewart recommending the introduction of the Glock 22 superseding the Smith & Wesson .38 calbre model 10 with some specialist sections and plain clothes officers having either the smaller Glock 23 or Glock 27 models available in lieu of the standard model. Members are also issued with a spare magazine for their pistol due to the murder of two officers, armed with 6 shot revolvers, at Crescent Head in 1995[85] when officers carried the Smith & Wesson Model 10 in .38 Special. Specialist tactical units such as the full-time Tactical Operations Unit (and part-time regional State Protection Support Units) are equipped with a variety of specialised firearms for their duties.[86][87] The Public Order and Riot Squad are issued with a variety of specialist equipment for their roles including Colt M4 Carbine rifles.[88]

Equipment and holstersEdit

Officers at a protest

In addition to the standard issue firearm, officers are issued with Saflock (mark IV & V) handcuffs, OC (capsicum spray), expandable baton, Motorola XTS5000/XTS2500/APX6000/APX7000 (Digital UHF) or Tait Orca (VHF) portable radio, and a first-aid kit. Members have access to a fixed baton and Maglite rechargeable torch, which are usually located in all first response police vehicles for each officer "on the truck". There is also access to high ballistic rated overt body armour in every vehicle as required.[89] Specialist tactical officers from elite units such as the State Protection Group and riot officers from the Public Order and Riot Squad have access to a variety of specialised weapons and equipment.

Riot squad officers

The NSW Police Force has issued TASER electronic control devices (ECDs) which generally are carried by one officer on every first response general duties vehicle. TASER is also issued to some specialist squads (e.g. Public Order and Riot Squad, Tactical Operations Unit and State Protection Support Units). Each Taser X26P issued to police includes an integrated camera to record all deployments of the device as well as any additional video while the device's safety is switched off.[90][91] The grip used by police may result in no video footage being available; however, audio footage is still "loud and clear". This is due, for safety reasons, to the grip being the same as that used to hold the glock pistol.[92]

The majority of officers carry their equipment on a leather or cordura duty appointment belt. In recent times, there has been a large movement within the police to implement changes in methods of equipment carry to relieve officers with back injuries. This has ranged from trials of lightweight nylon duty belts (such as the shapeshifter "gel belt"), to thigh holsters for firearms and load bearing equipment vests.[93][94][95] As of 2010, the load-bearing vest has become increasingly prevalent among general duty officers and it is anticipated that this trend will continue. It is believed that the vests are effective in relieving officers of chronic back pain, as it takes most of the weight away from the waist and back area, and distributes it across the frontal area of the officer's torso. In 2017, a new load-bearing vest was introduced the Integrated Light Armour Vest (ILAV) that is level 2 ballistic rated and level 2 stab resistance rated which can be worn without armour and has the option of a hydration pack and a backpack.[96][89] Also in 2017, a new covert vest was introduced the Covert Light Armour Vest (CLAV).[96]

Field and service dressEdit

Officers in field dress

New South Wales Police Force has two uniforms for general duties police officers, one operational (field dress) and one ceremonial (service dress).

Field dress consists of navy blue cargo pants with map pockets, ballooned at the bottom, light blue marle short or long sleeve shirt, navy blue baseball cap with blue and white Sillitoe tartan, and black general purpose boots. A utility vest is also worn, carrying various equipment such as body cameras, pepper spray, batons and radio. During winter a navy blue Polartec-brand polar fleece jacket or leather jacket is worn. Ranks are worn on the shoulders by both NCOs and commissioned ranks. All officers are also supplied with high-visibility vests and raincoats which can be worn over the standard uniform.

Service dress consists of general purpose boots, straight leg navy blue trousers, blue marle shirt, antron cap/hat and leather duty jacket. Depending on rank, members may be issued with high-shine polishable lace-up leather boots for ceremonial occasions, similar to that worn by military personnel.

Officers wear a similar uniform when attending court proceedings. This is usually the full-service dress both during summer and winter.

During ceremonial occasions, NSW Police Force College staff, New South Wales Police Force protocol and NSW Police Force field protocol officers generally wear a navy blue ceremonial tunic during official occasions such as attestation parades (passing out parades), medal ceremonies, funerals, etc.

Field protocol officers are issued with a light blue/navy blue lanyard to be worn over the right shoulder and tucked into the right pocket during ceremonial occasions.

Full-time protocol officers and members of the VIP cyclists are entitled to wear a black basketweave Sam Browne belt during ceremonial occasions.

In line with the name change of the organisation back to "NSW Police Force", the current shoulder patch for uniform reads "New South Wales Police Force" and has a redesigned and recoloured eagle.

Specialist groups and special eventsEdit

Officers form a blockade at a protest

New South Wales Police Force officers are also entitled to wear mess dress with mess kit for black tie or formal dinners/dances. The dark navy blue trousers and mess jacket with cobalt blue cuffs, epaulettes (with ranks) and lapels clearly identify them as being members of the police.

Specialist units such as the Public Order and Riot Squad, Homicide Squad, Marine Area Command and the State Protection Group Tactical Operations Unit all have different uniform needs and are outfitted accordingly such as Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit with their white overalls, Tactical Operations Unit (TOU) with black and Dog Squad with subdued blue. Detectives wear plain clothes.

During ANZAC day marches and United Nations Day marches in Sydney, police officers can be seen alongside their Australian Federal Police counterparts wearing the distinctive United Nations blue beret and full-sized medals, if they have served with the Australian Federal Police in United Nations sanctioned peacekeeping operations.

Name plates and identificationEdit

Each police officer is issued an identification metal badge with a Warrant Card. Behind the police badge, a member has a coloured plastic backing card which helps identify a member's rank in the force, namely:

  • light blue – constable & senior constable
  • dark blue – sergeant & senior sergeant
  • red – inspector & chief inspector
  • green – superintendent & chief superintendent
  • white – assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner & commissioner

This colour-coding also occurs on a member's name plate. For administrative officers of all grades and Special Constables, their name plates are gold. Volunteers in Policing wear black nameplates. Civilian staff are not issued with badges; however, Special Constables and civilian forensic staff are issued with warrant cards. Everyone else such as plainclothes police officers is issued an Identification Certificate (Identification Card).


Blue and white Sillitoe tartan livery of NSWPF vehicles

NSW Police Force has the largest government fleet in Australia, with more than 4000 vehicles, on a lease basis. Most LAC response vehicles (General Duties) operate with a fleet made up of Holden Commodores, Ford Falcons and Hyundai Sonatas. Holden Colorados, Ford Rangers, and Hyundai iLoads are all used as caged vehicles or "paddy wagons".

Highway Patrol vehicles usually consist of a combination of marked and unmarked vehicles, including the Holden VF Commodore, Ford Falcon XR6, BMW 530d and Chrysler 300c SRT.

BMW and Yamaha road motorcycles and trail bikes are also used for off-road duty. Other specialist sections and units use a variety of police vehicles including Iveco prisoner vans, Mercedes Sprinter vans, Isuzu trucks, specialist rescue and bomb disposal vehicles and two Lenco BearCat armoured trucks.

Aviation Support Group AS 350B Squirrel POLAIR 3.

Police Aviation Support BranchEdit

Cessna Grand Caravan EX 208B POLAIR 8
A patrol boat
OPV Nemesis

The current Pol Air fleet is composed of ten aircraft – seven helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft:[97][98][99][100][101]

Helicopters: Polair 1–5, 9

  • 1 – 2020 Bell 429 (VH-PHW)
  • 2 – 2017 Bell 412EPI (VH-PQZ)
  • 3 – 2020 Bell 429 (VH-PHB)
  • 4 – 2020 Bell 429 (VH-PHM)
  • 5 – 2014 Bell 412EP (VH-PHZ)

Fixed-wing aircraft: Polair 6–8

The aircraft are equipped with modern technology and specialist equipment including rescue winches, Nite sun searchlights (30 million candle power), forward-looking infrared (FLIR), high definition video camera system, microwave down-linking of live pictures, digital radio communications and advanced integrated touch screen digital glass cockpits with global positioning satellite (GPS) navigation systems.[61][101]

On 6 June 2011, the Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, announced the incorporation of a new helicopter to the fleet. Referred to as PolAir 4, this is a state-of-the-art, twin-engine Eurocopter EC135 P2+ that is fitted with modern blade technology including a "fenestron" tail-rotor to make aircraft operations quieter over urban areas, and a speed of up to 220 kilometres per hour (140 mph). It is planned that the Eurocopter EC135 design will replace the current single-engine models.[102]

The fixed wing Cessna 206H aircraft, callsign Polair 6,[103] is primarily used for aerial speed enforcement along major freeways and highways in the State.[104][105] It is also used to transport officers and assist with search operations in remote areas of the State.[103]

The much larger Cessna 208 Grand Caravan, callsign Polair 7, provides the police with a long-range heavy lift capability allowing for the transport of cargo, specialist equipment and personnel during extensive search and rescue incidents which is ideal for use in remote locations across the state.[100] Various other fixed-wing aircraft such as a leased Cessna 500 have been used for major operations including the APEC Australia 2007 security operation.[106] Another was also used during the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

Marine Area CommandEdit

The Marine Area Command vessels and personnel are strategically located at important commercial and leisure ports with the base at Balmain on Sydney Harbour. The Command also based at Broken Bay, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour, Botany Bay, Port Kembla and Eden.[107] It has 123 operational water police, marine intelligence unit, marine crime prevention officer, divers, detectives and the marine operational support team,[108] and employs six civilian engineers and 30 deck hands.[61][109]

The current fleet consists of 11 seagoing craft, including OPV Nemesis, the largest purpose-built police boat in the Southern Hemisphere,[110] and a number of smaller boats. In January 2013 seven new "class 4" Rigid-hulled inflatable boat watercraft were rolled out across the state to Balmain, Botany Bay and Broken Bay. The new 9.5-metre (31 ft) rigid-hulled inflatable boat have two 250 hp four-stroke outboard motors, with a speed of 45 knots (83 km/h; 52 mph) and a range of 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) at 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), and are fitted with the latest navigation and communication equipment.[111]

Rank structureEdit

Former Wagga Wagga Local Area Commander, Superintendent Frank Goodyer

The New South Wales Police Force is run as a community policing model. All sworn members start at the lowest rank of probationary constable / constable and may work their way up. Promotion beyond senior constable is highly competitive. The following ranks are listed lowest to highest from left as set out in 2002:[112]

Constable and non-commissioned ranks
Rank Probationary
Constable Senior
Sergeant Incremental
Commissioned ranks
Rank Inspector Chief
Superintendent Chief


All grades of constable perform the same basic range of duties, with the rank only reflecting experience. The rank of probationary constable is held for the first twelve months of service. Following 12 months of satisfactory service and on completion of the associate degree of policing practice via distance education, the probationary constable is confirmed to the rank of constable.

Promotion to the rank of senior constable can be obtained after five years service and requires the officer to pass an examination which can cover a broad area of policing knowledge. Incremental senior constable is obtained after ten years of service. Senior constables of all grades are referred to as either "senior constable" or "senior".

Leading Senior Constable is a rank that primarily sees an officer in a training role and belongs to a specific unit or duty type of which there is a limited number with progression to such being competitive and non-transferable. If an LSC transfers from a unit or duty type (such as from highway patrol to general duties or vice versa) they revert to their original senior constable rank. To be eligible for LSC an officer must have a minimum of 7 years service, be of the rank of senior constable and undergo a number of tests and selection processes in competition with other applicants.

Non-commissioned officersEdit

Promotion to the rank of sergeant and beyond is achieved by way of a "merit-based" promotion system, whereby officers undertake a series of "pre-qualification assessments" and are placed on a ranked list before gaining promotion. Officers who qualify for a promotion list are given an eligibility mark and are ranked according to order of merit from the highest mark to the lowest. This means that the highest-ranked member on the promotions list will be considered first for the rank and position concerned. Members seeking placement on a promotion list must have spent the requisite time at the rank below, which is at least two years, and must have successfully completed the relevant pre-qualifying assessment examinations, an applicant evaluation and must meet the eligibility program. A new promotion list for each rank or grade is prepared each year, and an applicant who does not accept promotion can remain on a list only for three years before having to requalify for the list.[113]

On promotion to sergeant and senior sergeant, members are issued a warrant of appointment under the commissioner's hand and seal.

A sergeant normally supervises a team of constables during a shift. A detective sergeant is normally in charge of a team in a specific part of either a local area command detectives office or a specialist squad in the State Crime Command.

The Incremental Sergeant is not a rank, instead it means that the sergeant wears a small crown above the chevrons indicating that they have reached the highest step in the rank of Sergent.

Senior sergeants are generally attached to "regions" as region training coordinators, region traffic coordinators, region operations coordinator positions or in legal services, professional standards, protocol, education services and perform middle-management duties.

Sergeants and incremental sergeants are referred to as "sergeant"; senior sergeants are referred to as "senior sergeant".

Commissioned officersEdit

On completing at least three years as a sergeant (but usually more), and the relevant pre-qualification assessments, an officer may be elevated to the rank of "inspector" and issued a certificate of commission under the commissioner's hand and seal. Commissioned officers may be acknowledged by the rank they hold or, more commonly, as "sir", "ma'am" or "boss" ("boss" is usually used as a term of endearment for officers that are respected by the subordinate rank).

An inspector oversees sergeants and teams of constables and traditionally performs more administrative work, coordination of policing operations or specialist work. At local area commands, an inspector is allocated to each shift as a "duty officer" and oversees the general running of the police station.

Superintendents are usually "commanders" of local area commands or specialist units.

Assistant commissioners are generally "commanders" of regions or corporate portfolios.

As of 2010, the rank of senior assistant commissioner has been dispensed with. Officers currently holding this rank will retain it until retiring or upon promotion to a higher rank.[citation needed]

Honorary CommissionsEdit

As of July 2014, the New South Wales Police Force has begun bestowing the honorary rank and title of “Governor of the New South Wales Police Force” upon currently serving Governor of New South Wales.[114] This position was created by then Commissioner Andrew Scipione, in order to honour former governor Marie Bashir’s service to the New South Wales Police Force.

The Governor of the New South Wales Police Force wears the same uniform as commissioned officers of the force but has the rank insignia being the State Badge surmounted by a crown.

The current Governor to hold this title is Margaret Beazley.


If a New South Wales Police Force officer elects to undertake criminal investigation duties, after a period of exams and assignments, and given experience in a criminal investigation office that officer is given the designation of "detective". As it is a designation and not a rank, the designation comes prior to the rank (e.g., detective constable, detective senior constable, etc.).

Returning to general duties (uniform) is common for detectives, and many detectives do seek promotion in the general duties arena. However, while they do not lose their detective's designation if they leave full-time investigation duties, it is customary not to use their designation while performing general or other duties which are not an authorised investigative position.

On returning to an authorised position, they can use their designation again without having to requalify. There has been some consideration given by the police force in recent years to identify designated detectives performing uniform duties by way of a distinctive badge or uniform embellishment, which in early 2021 was adopted by having designated detectives receive a distinguished badge which is gold in colour set on a black backing (much similar to detectives in the USA).

Symbols and traditionsEdit

NSW Police Force BannerEdit

On 29 September 2006, Governor of New South Wales Marie Bashir presented the NSW Police Banner to the New South Wales Police Force at a ceremony adjacent to the NSW Police Force Roll of Honour at the Domain in Sydney, Australia. Later that day, the banner led the NSW Police Force marching contingent at the dedication of the National Police Memorial in Canberra.[115]

Flag and pennantsEdit

The Force has an official flag, with the 'Nemesis logo on a light blue over white bicolour.

The Mounted Police unit carries a swallow-tailed navy blue and white pennant on lances, without the nemesis logo.

The commissioner and the VIP cyclists have a nemesis logo on a light blue over white bicolour pennant on their transportation. The pennant is swallow-tailed.

NSW Police pipe band

NSW Police BandEdit

The NSW Police Band was established in 1895 and is the longest-serving uniformed concert band in Australia. It today incorporates ten different ensembles, used for different activities. It is regarded as the "State Band of New South Wales" and is one of only two full-time police bands in existence in the country.[61][116]

NSW Pipe BandEdit

The pipe band is an auxiliary unit of the band. It was founded in 1946. Its first official engagement was the Newcastle Centenary Celebrations in September 1947. Many ex-members reformed the band in an unofficial capacity during the ANZAC Day march in the early 90s. It has participated in events such as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Sydney.[117]

Honours and awardsEdit

Recognition for the bravery and sacrifice of members of the New South Wales Police Force is expressed through honours and awards. The New South Wales Police Force was the first Australian Police jurisdiction to have one of its members awarded the Imperial Honour,[citation needed] namely the George Cross and the Australian Honour the Cross of Valour. Sergeant 3rd Class Eric George Bailey GC was awarded the George Cross posthumously on 12 January 1945.

New South Wales Police Force also has the distinction in having one of its members being awarded the highest civilian bravery award, namely the Cross of Valour. In its history, only five people have been awarded that award, with a New South Wales Police Officer being the first Australian Police Officer to receive it. On 3 May 1996, the then Detective Senior Constable Sparkes rescued a boy trapped in a flooded underground storm water drain following record rainfalls at Coffs Harbour.[118]

Australian honours and awardsEdit

New South Wales Police Force Officers are eligible for the following National Honours and Awards:

Internal New South Wales Police honours and awardsEdit

New South Wales Police Force also has a number of inservice Honours and Awards, awarded by the Commissioner of New South Wales Police Force. Commissioner Peter Ryan QPM implemented the New South Wales Police Force Commissioner's Olympic Commendation and the New South Wales Police Force Olympic Citation. This award is significant as the New South Wales Police Force is the only police force in the world to be permitted the Olympic Rings to be attached. It has been widely reported and accepted that the Sydney 2000 Olympics was the "Safest Games in modern Olympic history".[119]

Former commissioner Ken Moroney AO APM implemented the Commissioners Community Service Commendation and Community Service Citation in 2002.

Police honours and awards are highly prized partly because they are only awarded to members in small numbers and are rarely issued to general duties police. The only award that was given out in large numbers was the Commissioner's Olympic Citation due to the massive contribution by all members of the force.[citation needed]

Commendations and medalsEdit

  • New South Wales Police Force Valour Award (VA);
  • New South Wales Police Force Commissioners Commendation (Courage) (Rarely awarded as courage is not recognised by commissioned officers);
  • New South Wales Police Force Commissioners Commendation (Service) (Awarded to Civilians and non operational police for showing up to work);
  • New South Wales Police Force Commissioners Olympic Commendation;
  • New South Wales Police Force Commissioners Community Service Commendation;
  • New South Wales Police Force Medal for Diligent and Ethical Service (awarded after 10 years' service, with clasps awarded for every five years thereafter).

The above in-service decorations are worn 5 mm below the officer's name plate and are right-sided decorations.


The following in-service decorations are worn 5 mm above the officer's name plate and are right-sided decorations.

  • New South Wales Police Force Unit Citation (maximum three further awards are indicated by silver stars) – metal device, with silver laurel leaf surround, with light blue enamel centre (only awarded to State Crime Command for showing up to work);
  • New South Wales Police Force Commissioner's Community Service Citation (maximum one further award indicated by one silver star) – metal device, with silver laurel leaf surround, with white enamel centre.
  • New South Wales Police Force Commissioner's Olympic Citation – metal device, with silver laurel leaf surround, with navy blue enamel centre and silver Olympic rings ;
  • New South Wales Police Force Commissioner's Sesquicentenary Citation – metal device, with thin silver surround, with navy blue and light blue striped enamel centre and silver numerals of '1862' '150' '2012' with a depiction of the State of NSW and silitoe tartan.


In peacekeeping operations, officers are seconded to the Australian Federal Police and take an oath or affirmation of the AFP. They are then appointed to the rank of senior sergeant, station sergeant, superintendent or commander. Following their service, UN peacekeeping veterans are awarded the United Nations Medal for their particular mission. In addition, under the Australian system of honours and awards, police officers serving with peacekeeping organisations are awarded the Police Overseas Service Medal with the relevant clasp for the prescribed area of service. As of 2008, two clasps to that medal were awarded to members for operations in Cyprus and East Timor.

Cyprus (UNFICYP)Edit

Members were among the first Australian police sent to Cyprus in May 1964 as the first UN police contingent. The UN Civilian Police (now known as UNPOL or United Nations Police) was established with a three-month mandate to end hostilities between the Greek and Turkish communities and promote peace on the island. The operation is ongoing.

Members were subsequently withdrawn from Cyprus in 1976, along with all other state and territory police following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July 1974. During the invasion and preceding it the Australian police were subject to machine gun and mortar fire and Turkish air attack. Some of their personal motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal items at that time were destroyed, lost or stolen. Fortunately, there was no loss of Australian lives at that time. Australian police continued to negotiate between the invading Turkish army, other warring parties and escorted refugees to safety from both sides.[120] Since UNFICYP commenced, a large number of the NSW Police has served in Cyprus alongside other Australian police jurisdictions.

East Timor (UNTAET and UNMISET)Edit

From 2000 to 2005, 45 NSW Police Force officers were involved in the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) seconded to the Australian Federal Police for their Tour of Duty in East Timor with the United Nations. There have only been three female NSWP officers to serve.

In addition, two New South Wales Police Force officers have been commended for courage for peacekeeping in East Timor, one by the Australian government, and the Australian Federal Police Commissioners Commendation for Bravery (station sergeant David McCann OAM – UNMISET[121] and one by the commissioner (senior sergeant Mark Aubrey Gilpin – UNTAET). McCann was awarded the Commendation for Brave Conduct for his part in the rescue of 110 vulnerable persons from a village in East Timor after it suffered major flooding. Gilpin was awarded the New South Wales Police Commendation (courage) for his part in protecting a member of the community who was being subjected to mob justice. He placed his body in front of the mob, who were armed with machettes and other weapons and managed to extract the victim to safety.

Out of the ten Australian peacekeepers who have died on peacekeeping missions, two were from NSW Police Force while serving with UNFICYP. Sergeant Ian Ward and Inspector Patrick Hackett died in separate incidents in UNFCYP. A total of 124 soldiers and police gave their lives while serving with the UN in Cyprus.[122]

Racial categoriesEdit

NSW Police uses the following racial categories to describe alleged criminals, offenders, suspects, victims and missing persons (as conferred with representatives from the then Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW and various community groups in 1999):[123]

To note, they also established policy guidelines to regulate the use of ethnicity based descriptors.

See alsoEdit

Former units:




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