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By now, you would all be aware that we have a new NSW Police Commissioner – Mick Fuller APM.

I had the pleasure to ‘informally’ meet and congratulate him on his appointment and to do this on behalf of the members of the Retired Police Association. We all know that this job is an enormously demanding one and although he has reached the pinnacle of his career, to which he should rightly feel very proud of achieving, it would be a somewhat daunting realisation, that as well as becoming Commissioner of the NSW Police Force, he is also the Police Commissioner for all the citizens of New South Wales and thereby has the ultimate responsibility for their safety. Nevertheless, Mick is a career Policeman with 30years experience.

He joined the job at age 19 and progressed through the ranks and acquired an impressive operational and administrative service history. He is more than adequately qualified to do the job.

I have read many articles about him in recent times and I have gained some insight into his ‘new approach’ and ‘positive initiatives’ to address current problems and future policing responses. He has some fresh ideas with some old style values, for example, in an early interview he is quoted saying, ‘he wants to greatly increase the visibility of a police presence.’ This is a pretty good starting point and I know from my discussions with people in the community, that this particular initiative alone will be received very favourably. He has many challenges ahead of him especially in today’s unpredictable violent social environment.

Since being appointed to his promoted position, the Commissioner has had to ‘hit the ground running’ as there is no period of apprenticeship in this role. He will be required to make decisions which others will often unfairly criticise and he will have to wear the blame for the actions of all the members of the Force under his command. To that end, he deserves our support as we former police know only too well how many self-appointed experts are out there.

I had met Mick a couple of times prior to this photo shoot however on this particular occasion, apart from congratulating him on his promotion, I was also able to assure him, ‘that there would be no other group or organisation more loyal or supportive of NSW Police (and this included him) than the Retired Police Association.’

As I examined that photograph on the cover, I saw a relatively young man (senior in rank) with an enormous task ahead of him, standing next a more senior gentleman (senior in age) and I’m reminded that I am no longer a "spring chicken". I am thinking how lonely at the top it will be for him at times and that as a result, it will probably prematurely age him, just as it did to his predecessors and similarly, just like the effect the job has had on the rest of us.

I left this meeting with a parting comment, ‘that we (the RPA members) wish him well and that we look forward to an amicable relationship with him, the Commissioner, just as we had with his predecessor.’ That said, our first ‘official’ meeting will take place shortly. At that meeting I will sit down with him and his Chief of Staff and RPA secretary Peter Rankin and give an overview of the RPA and discuss some of the concerns which impact upon our members. I will use that opportunity to explore benefits we might derive from the two organisation’s harmonious relationship and of course, once again reaffirm the RPA’s commitment of support for NSW Police.

This matter aside, I think it only fitting that I acknowledge and pay tribute to the outgoing Commissioner, Andrew Scipione. Much has been written about the service he provided to the Police Force and the community over the period of his 10 year tenure and to his credit it has been fairly praiseworthy. Over those years I had many meetings with him and I can say that at all times he has treated both the RPA and me (being the RPA’s representative), with courteous respect. Andrew will best be remembered by the RPA for creating that special designated day, set aside each year in the Police calendar – “Retired Police Day” (held 1st Thursday in September or thereabouts).

This is the day set-aside for serving police at LAC’s to recognise the policing contribution of their forebears, that is - us. The new Commissioner has given me an undertaking that this day/practice will continue. Another initiative undertaken by Commissioner Scipione was the reintroduction of the “Retired Officer Identification Card” which is similar to the serving police warrant card and which was a further demonstration of grateful recognition of our service. We wish Andrew well as he adjusts to a return to civilian life and we extend an invitation and an ‘Application Form’ to have him join our RPA ranks.

Finally, as we approach our upcoming AGM, let me ask you all to show support for our organisation. I invite you to attend this meeting (see Secretary Peter Rankin’s report). Similarly, in the coming months, the Regional Branches will be conducting their respective AGM’s and I urge you to attend them. Would you please consider some personal involvement by perhaps becoming an office bearer in either the ‘head offices’ Committee of Management or in your local Regional Branch. Fact is, every former Policeman/ Policewoman has the necessary ability and skills to take up office and fill any of the positions and it should not be left up to the same few to carry out those roles repeatedly. If however you are unable to stand for a position then I would encourage you to at least attend the Branch meetings as an expression of your support to those who do provide this service. That’s my report for this edition and as usual, I leave you with the sincere wish that you have a long and healthy life in retirement.

Paul Biscoe OAM
State President


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