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        STATE Presidents' REPORT:
As a result of my last report in the previous edition of the Gazette, I have received more than usual feedback from members who have realised the worth of our organisation in terms of the welfare component we offer. Each of us should be mindful of caring for our fellow mates. My intention was simply a reminder of this obligation of which, much already takes place. We have a well earnt record of caring which we should be proud of. I especially wish to thank those members who contacted me personally to express their concern as to my well-being. Let’s all keep up this momentum and continue to deliberately and sincerely ‘look out for each other.’

In late March, I was indirectly contacted by a representative of the ‘National Association of Retired Police Officers’ of Kenya (it was pointed out that this is one of only four such associations in Africa). Their President/Chairman Dr Francis SANG, Senior Deputy Commissioner (Rtd) of Police was visiting Australia and staying in Canberra “on a Government Assignment.” In their communique they wrote that they “….are a similar organisation to Retired Police Association of NSW and are very eager to establish a rapport with us”….and further, that….”We would like to have relationships with such likeminded people the World over.” These were nice sentiments and I felt it appropriate to respond with a view of meeting with him, perhaps over lunch when he came to Sydney. Unfortunately that meeting did not eventuate. I’ve not heard from them since.

However, in early May I was contacted by a former Russian Chief Inspector and lawyer, Mr Vasily YUKHIN (via his wife who interpreted – as she fortunately is an English teacher in Russia) with a view to us having a meeting, as he was holidaying in Australia. Vasily is the President of the Retired Police Association in the Rostov Region of Russia and with a membership of about 10,000. This meeting did occur and happened over a Chinese meal at the City of Sydney RSL (the first Chinese food they had ever experienced) where we discussed many of our respective policing and retired police matters. It was a very enjoyable and interesting meeting and although policing is performed a little differently in Russia than how we do it here, it was not surprising that there are many similarities that we could relate to. We did agree that like policing all around the world, it’s much about maintaining public order and locking-up crooks. The aims and objectives of their Retired Police organisation are very much like ours, along the lines of fellowship and welfare support. Vasily was a fairly well respected serving officer in his time and he still commands respect from his serving counterparts. We exchanged gifts, small tokens with mostly Police insignia on them (except for the bottle of Vodka he slipped me) and then we parted, promising to remain in touch (via an interpretor of course). This was a lovely meeting and although he was a stranger from a very distant part of the world, there was an instant bond of friendship which allowed us to speak freely, one policeman to a fellow policeman.

Later in May I was delighted to receive a letter from the ‘Office for Police –NSW Department of Justice’ informing me that Police Minister GRANT had made a “Ministerial Grant for the marking and restoration of Police graves.”

Minister GRANT has committed $55,000 towards the upkeep and restoration of the gravesites of those unfortunate Police who were killed on duty. This announcement came completely out of the blue but was a very welcome result for something I have felt very passionate about. I applaud him and the Government for this generous gesture. Over many years while occupying my position as President of the NSW RPA I have actively pursued and even agitated to achieve this goal. I have canvassed a succession of Ministers and Commissioners alike to provide funding for such a project. Many of these gravesites have been allowed to deteriorate to a deplorable state of disrepair and I saw this situation as a visual mark of disrespect to our fallen. These same Police whose lives were lost in the course of duty were some of whom should be considered, our NSW Police Heroes. Their untimely deaths, whether brought about by a deliberate act or by accident or simply being in the wrong place at the time, deserve an appropriate recognition of this. They are entitled to a respectful monument, both fitting their deeds and being thereafter well maintained. Hopefully now, their final place of rest will be seen to be honoured by both past and present Police and then we, with hand on heart, can proudly and truthfully say on ‘National Police Remembrance Day’ – “we will remember them.”

Finally, you will see in Secretary Rankin’s report, details of the upcoming State AGM. If you are able I encourage you to please attend and show your support for the Committee of Management who as your representatives, deal with the business of running our Association.

In closing and as usual may I wish you all a happy and healthy life in retirement.

 
Paul Biscoe OAM
State President
 
 

 

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