AGY-12 | New South Wales Police Service (1990-2002) / New South Wales Police (2002-2007) / NSW Police Force (2007- )

NSW State Archives Collection
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The Police Service Act 1990 (Act No.47, 1990) (1) repealed the former Police Regulation Act of 1899 (Act No.20, 1899) and dissolved both the Police Force of New South Wales and the Police Department. It established the New South Wales Police Service from 1 July 1990. (2)

The mission of the Police Service under the Police Service Act 1990 was 'to have the police and the community working together to establish a safer environment by reducing violence, crime and fear'. The functions of the Police Service are to provide police services for New South Wales, to exercise any other function conferred on it by or under this or any other Act, and to do anything necessary for, or incidental to, the exercise of its functions. Police services include: services by way of prevention and detection of crime; and the protection of persons from injury or death, and property from damage, whether arising from criminal acts or in any other way; and the provision of essential services in emergencies; and any other service prescribed by the regulations. (3) The Commissioner is responsible for the management and control of the Police Service, subject to the direction of the Minister, and the Commissioner's responsibility includes the effective, efficient and economical management of the functions and activities of the Police Service. (4)

The new legislation also repealed the Police Board Act 1983 (Act No.135, 1983) (5) reconstituting the Police Board and giving it responsibilities as the employer of officers in the Police Service Senior Executive Service. The Board's functions included promoting improvement of the Police Service, making recommendations on policy, ensuring development of modern personnel practices, and initiating research.

The Police Service (Inspector General) Act 1991 (Act No.62, 1991) (6) formalised the appointment of Mr Donald Keith Wilson to the position of Inspector General on 13 December 1991. The Inspector General was to assist the Police Board in improving the performance of the Police Service by monitoring the structure of the Service, making recommendations to the Police Board, assessing senior management capabilities, and producing a priority list of recommendations. (7)

In January 1992 the Internal Police Security Branch was renamed the Professional Integrity Branch.

On 22 September 1992, Premier Greiner announced the establishment of - " a small ministry funded from within the existing cost structure to clearly separate the operational from the administrative and policy functions within the Police portfolio". The Ministry for Police and Emergency Services was formally created as a Department under Schedule 1 of the Public Sector Management Act, 1988. (8)

The moving of more police into operational roles, involved a planned, phased handover of prisoner escort and court security functions from the Police Service to the Department of Corrective Services. (9)

The Police Service (Management) Amendment Act 1993 (Act No.39, 1993) (10) commenced on 12 July 1993. The Police Board no longer had a statutory responsibility to promote the improvement, and ensure the maintenance of the Police Service. It did, however, retain its role in employment of members of the Police Service Senior Executive Service, and ensuring the development of modern personnel practices. It could, with Ministerial approval, undertake either integrity reviews of the Police Service or special research projects. The Police Commissioner could now be removed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Minister with the consent of the Police Board. [Prior to this Act it had been necessary to obtain a resolution by both Houses of Parliament.] (11) The position of Inspector General was transferred to the Ministry for Police with the Inspector General reporting directly to the Minister. (12)

In April 1994 Special Agencies was created within State Command, incorporating the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Fraud Enforcement Agency. As part of this restructure the Gaming and Vice Squads were disbanded with their responsibilities returned to the patrols.

On 17 May 1994 Internal Affairs was restructured with changes to the functions and composition of investigative teams in the Special Investigative Group. Investigation teams of detective inspectors and detective constables were replaced by multi-skilled teams under the control of team leaders.

The command structure of the Office of Professional Responsibility was changed in March 1995. The Internal Investigations Branch now conducted investigations, both proactive and reactive, and the Internal Services Branch provided the administrative service encompassing the Customer Assistance Unit and the Corruption Prevention Unit. An Internal Witness Support Unit was established to develop and implement an Internal Witness Support Program. The term 'internal informer' was replaced by the term 'internal witness' and responsibility for implementation is transferred from Professional Responsibility to the Human Resources Command.

In February 1996, the Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service delivered its First Interim Report in which recommended the establishment of a permanent body, the Police Integrity Commission to investigate serious police misconduct. (13)

The Police Integrity Commission Act 1996 (Act No.28, 1996) (14) established a Police Integrity Commission, whose principal function is to detect, investigate and prevent police corruption and other serious police misconduct in terms of police actions or inactions. The Integrity Commission was also empowered to manage and oversee other agencies in carrying out these functions. The Commission could also audit any aspect of police activity to determine whether there are instances of misconduct or an environment conducive to misconduct; and advise on police education programs and corruption prevention schemes. Matters not completed by the Police Royal commission were transferred to the Integrity Commission. Appointments under the Act included the Police Commissioner and one or more Assistant Commissioners as Integrity Commissioners, an Inspector of the Integrity Commission, and appropriate administrative and investigative staffs.

The Police Legislation Amendment Act 1996 (Act No.29, 1996) was passed in conjunction with the Police Integrity Commission Act making further provisions for the dealing with complaints about the Police. (15)

The Police Service Further Amendment Act 1996 (Act No.108, 1996) (16) abolished the Police Board and transferred its employment functions to the Police Commissioner. The procedures for the appointment and removal of senior police were modified with Police Integrity Commission involvement in appointing the Police Commissioner. Recommendations for the appointment of Deputy Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners, and other senior executive officers would now come from the Police Commissioner. Integrity became the basis for all police appointments. Police 'whistle blowers' were to be protected from reprisal by other police officers. The Police Board's Power to conduct inquiries into the administration and management of the Police Service was to be exercised by a ministerial appointee.

In February 1997 the Police Force was restructured with a new command structure of -

* a Deputy Commissioner (Field Operations)
* a Deputy Commissioner (Specialist Operations)
* an Executive Director (Management Services)
* an Executive Director (Human Resources & Development)
* a Chief of Staff
* a Director of the Policy Co-ordination Unit.

The Deputy Commissioner (Field Operations) commanded 11 police regions, State Emergency Operations, Operational Programs, and the Police Citizens' Youth Clubs. The district command structure where within each region each district had a separate commander with his or her own support staff was abolished.

The Deputy Commissioner (Specialist Operations) is responsible for Special Branch (and its successor), Technical Support, Internal Affairs, Traffic Services, Customer Assistance, Crime Agencies, State Intelligence, Olympic Security, State Protection Group, Public Affairs, Special Services, and Forensic Services.

The Executive Director, Management Services is responsible for Information Technology, NEPI, Administrative & Commercial Services, Audit & Evaluation, Finance and Legal Services.

The Executive Director, Human Resources and Development, is responsible for the Police Academy, Personnel, Establishment Control, Recruitment, Internal Witness Support, Industrial Relations, Employee Assistance and the Reform Co-ordination Unit.

Special Branch was disbanded on 12 March 1997 and replaced in the interim by the VIP Security Group. In 1998 the Police Integrity Commission began an inquiry into a long term successor for Special Branch. (17)

NSW Police Service was renamed 'NSW Police' from 12 July 2002. (18)

NSW Police was renamed 'The NSW Police Force' from 1 February 2007. (19) The mission of the NSW Police Force, as amended, 'is to work with the community to reduce violence, crime and fear'. (20)

On 1 April 2010 Police and Emergency Services NSW was abolished and all its branches were removed and amalgamated with the NSW Police Force. (21)

From 2015, the NSW Police Force operated under the Police Act 1990 and the Police Regulation 2015. (22)

At June 2016 the NSW Police Force included seventy-six local area commands (LAC) which operated from 432 police stations delivering policing services to communities. Specialist commands complemented the general duties operational capability, covering land, sea and air operations. The six Regions were: Central Metropolitan Region, Southern Metropolitan Region, North West Metropolitan Region, Southern Region, Northern Region and Western Region. (23)

From July 2017 the NSW Police Force implemented a new organisational structure and launched three new specialist commands: the Capability, Performance & Youth Command, State Intelligence Command, and Police Transport & Public Safety Command. Re-engineering also replaced the 20-year-old ‘local area command’ model. In metropolitan Sydney, 42 commands were consolidated into 32 ‘police area commands’ (PAC), creating a flatter structure and returning more officers to the frontline. With its first ever dedicated deputy commissioner, regional NSW was given a framework tailored to the specific needs of policing in country areas. Its 32 commands were replaced by 26 ‘police districts’ (PD). Metropolitan Field Operations comprised Central Metropolitan Region, South West Metropolitan Region and North West Metropolitan Region, while the Southern Region, Northern Region and Western Region comprised Regional NSW Field Operations. (24)

At the abolition of Resilience NSW on 16 December 2022, the staff involved in the State Emergency Operations Centre Support Branch were transferred to NSW Police Force. (25)

1. Assented to 26 June 1990, New South Wales Government Gazette No.85, 6 July 1990, p.6217.
2. New South Wales Government Gazette No.82, 29 June 1990, p.5406.
3. Police Service Act, 1990 (Act No.47, 1990), s.6(1)-(3).
4. Ibid., s.8.
5. See Agency Registration AGY-9 Police Department.
6. Assented to 13 December 1991, New South Wales Government Gazette No.183, 27 December 1991, p.10737.
7. Annual Report of the Police Board for the year ended 30 June 1992, p.90.
8. Annual Report of the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services for the year ended 30 June 1993, p.3.
9. Ibid. p.5.
10. Assented to 8 June 1993, New South Wales Government Gazette, 18 June 1993, p.2900.
11. Annual Report of the Police Board for the year ended 30 June 1993, pp.20-21.
12. The first two reports of the Inspector General appear in the Annual Reports of the Police Board for 1992 and 1993.
13. Letters patent were issued on 13 May 1994, 16 May 1995, 21 February 1996, and 30 October 1996 - Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service Final Report Volume I: Corruption, May 1997, p.1. The Royal Commission was also backed by two Acts in 1994 conferring additional powers - The Royal Commission (Police Service) Act, Act No. 60, 1994 and Act No. 75, 1994.
14. Assented to 21 June 1996, New South Wales Government Gazette No.77, 28 June 1996, p.3277.
15. Assented to 21 June 1996, New South Wales Government Gazette No.77, 28 June 1996, p.3277.
16. Assented to 2 December 1996, New South Wales Government Gazette No.143, 6 December 1996, p.7867.
17. This information is based on material supplied by Police Service, Corporate Archives.
18. Police Service Amendment (NSW Police) Act, 2002, Schedule 1 [2]; NSW Government Gazette No.116, 12 July 2002, p.5226.
19. Police Amendment (Miscellaneous) Act, 2006 (Act No.94, 2006), Schedule 2 [5] amended the Police Act 1990, s.3(1); NSW Government Gazette No.22, 1 February 2007, p.575.
20. Police Amendment (Miscellaneous) Act, 2006, Schedule 2 [10] amended the Police Act 1990, s.6(1).
21. Public Sector Employment and Management (Police and Emergency Services NSW) Order 2010 (2009 No 116); notified on NSW Legislation website, 1 April 2010.
22. NSW Police Force Annual Report 2021-22, p.6.
23. NSW Police Force Annual Report 2016-2017, p.6.
24. NSW Police Force Annual Report 2017-2018, pp.4, 6, 7.
25. Administrative Arrangements (Administrative Changes—Miscellaneous) Order 2022 (2022 No 10), cl.4; NSW Legislation Website, 16 December 2022.

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