The Act for the Regulation of the Police Force in New South Wales of 1850 (14 Vic. No.38) (1), provided for the appointment by the Governor of an Inspector General of Police who was charged and vested with the general superintendence of the police force to be established under the Act. (2). Under the Act the Inspector General of Police was also given the authority to frame rules, orders and regulations (3). The first Inspector General of Police was appointed on the 1 January 1851 (4).
The Police Regulation Act of 1862 (25 Vic. No. 16) (5) amalgamated rural constabulary, mounted patrols, Sydney metropolitan police and the Sydney Water Police into one force responsible to the Inspector-General of Police in Sydney.
The Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) was formed in 1879. The Inspector General was a member of the Metropolitan Transit Commissioners who were operational from 1 April, 1873 until 29 August, 1900. All of the powers of the Metropolitan Transit Commissioners were transferred to the Inspector General of Police following the closure of the former agency. This included making by-laws regulating the mode, licensing and controlling of public vehicles (such as omnibuses and hackney carriages), their drivers and conductors. (6)
The Police Regulation Act 1899 (Act No. 20, 1899) (7) repealed the Police Regulation Act 1862 and consolidated the legislation in regard to the control of the Police force in New South Wales. This Act, with amendments, regulated the force until 1990.
During World War I the activities of the Police were increasingly directed towards the opposition to the war. Police actively liased with the Counter Espionage Bureau. (8) . During these years a number of charges were laid under the Commonwealth legislation of the War Precautions Act 1914, and the Unlawful Associations Act 1916.
The Special Drug Bureau was established in July 1926 and the Police Offences Amendment (Drugs) Act, Act No. 7, (9) to combat the trade in illicit substances.
The Police Regulation (Amendment) Act, (Act No. 13, 1935) (10) changed the official title of Inspector-General of Police to Commissioner of Police, defining the Commissioner's prime authority, and also creating the position of Deputy Commissioner.
Commissioner MacKay revamped the police organisation to one which was more structured and compartmentalised, a change which endured until Commissioner Avery's administration (1984-1991). The CIB was divided into specialised units such as vice, pillage, gaming, homicide, and arson. The Subversive Organisations Bureau was established during the 1930s. In 1941 the Prosecuting Branch was formed by Commissioner MacKay and added to the CIB.
By the outbreak of World War II the Subversive Organisations Bureau was combined with elements of the Commonwealth Government and the Armed Services to form the Military/Police Intelligence Branch. At war's end the Branch was dissolved and the Subversive Organisation Investigation Bureau was reconstituted as a purely police function. In conjunction with the formation of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in 1948, a Conference of Commissioners of Police undertook to establish and maintain a Special Branch for intelligence work, similar to the Special Branch at New Scotland Yard.
Immediately after the war recruit training was recommenced on a residential basis at the RAAF camp at Penrith. In 1953 the training program was transferred to the Police Training Centre at Redfern and became non-residential. Gradually a number of other premises were used for various types of training. From January 1978 the Police Cadet Corps was progressively phased out and replaced by the Junior Trainee Scheme. In May 1984, recruit training was transferred from Redfern to the new Police Academy at Goulburn.
The Police Regulation (Assistant Commissioners) Amendment Act 1964 (11) abolished the office of Deputy Commissioner and created a number of Assistant Commissioner positions. The Police Prosecution Section was established as a separate unit distinct from the CIB in 1965.
In 1966 the Armed Hold Up Squad was initiated to combat the upsurge in armed robberies. All are members of Emergency Squad, later known as Special Weapons and Operations Squad. Members are drawn from 21 Division and divisional detectives throughout the metropolitan region.
In response to the Moffit Royal Commission into Allegations of Organised Crime in Clubs in NSW (1973) the Crime Intelligence Unit was created on 20 September 1974 to gather information about organised crime.
The Police Regulation (Allegations of Misconduct) Act, Act No. 84, 1978 commenced operation on 19 February 1979 (12) establishing the Internal Affairs Branch, and making complaints notifiable to the Ombudsman. The Police Tribunal was established to hear matters relating to disciplinary charges for misconduct.
In 1979 the Commonwealth-NSW Joint task Force into Drug Trafficking was formed involving both the New South Wales and Australian Federal Police to target high level drug dealing. This taskforce was wound up in 1988.
In 1980 with the amendment of the State Emergency Services and Civil Defence Act 1972 and the Police Regulation Act 1899 control of the State Emergency Services and Civil Defence was given to the Commissioner of Police.
The Report of Justice Lusher of the Commission to Inquire into NSW Police Administration was presented to Parliament in April 1981. More than 200 recommendations included fundamental changes in administration and training. The changes that followed included the introduction of anti-corruption measures, attempts to change the police culture, and promote integrity. The Crime Intelligence Unit which had been established in response to the Moffit Report, was enlarged. It was detached from the CIB, became an autonomous body, and was renamed the Bureau of Crime Intelligence . An Organised Crime Squad was formed within the Bureau of Crime Intelligence to enhance its investigative status and capacity. On 1 December 1982, the Observation Squad was detached from the CIB and amalgamated with the surveillance arm of the Bureau of Crime Investigation.
The Office of the Minister for Police and Emergency Services commenced operation in May 1982 continuing until March 1988. The Office acted as an independent policy analyst to the Minister preparing submissions on all major crime and police management policy issues. The Ministerial Office was a declared Administrative Unit under Schedule 2 of the Public Service Act, 1979 (13).
The formation of the Police Board in 1984 (through the Police Board Act, Act No. 135, 1983) (14) effected a significant change to a system in which the Police Commissioner had been the sole source of advice to the Government on policing since the 1860s, and opened the way for a new voice to be heard in relation to police administration and education.
Also in 1984 the Internal Police Security Unit, which had been part of the Internal Affairs Branch was given responsibility to carry out proactive anti-corruption functions imposed by the Police Regulations (Allegations of Misconduct) Act, 1978 and to investigate allegations of serious corruption.
The State Drug Crime Commission Act, 1985, established the State Drug Crime Commission (later renamed the NSW Crime Commission) to investigate drug crime.
A major restructuring of the Force, occurred in 1987 with the establishment of four police regions, along with the progressive devolution of centralised police agencies and squads to decentralised, geographically based 'patrols'. The regions were to be microcosms of the whole organisation, sharing all functions equally. The key changes were the dismantling of the CIB and the transfer of its detectives to the four Regional Crime Squads and new patrols. The number of command levels was reduced from 14 to six. The Internal Police Security Unit was renamed Internal Police Security Branch and placed under the command of a Chief Superintendent.
In November 1987 the State Intelligence Group was created.
The Aboriginal Police Liaison Unit was established on 9 December 1988 (15).
The Drug Enforcement Agency was established in 1989. From April 1989 the Gaming Squad came under the umbrella of this Agency. This was done because overseas experience indicated that gaming and vice were interrelated, and to take advantage of shared information and intelligence (16).
The Police Service Act of 1990 (Act No. 47, 1990), repealed the former Police Regulation Act of 1899 and dissolved both the Police Force of New South Wales and the Police Department from 1 July 1990. (17)
(1) Act for the Regulation of the Police Force in NSW (14 Vic, No.38).
(2) loc. cit.
(3) Ibid, section 6.
(4) NSW Blue Books, 1851.
(5) Assented to 20 January 1862, New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 1, 21 January 1862, p. 145-152.
(6) Public Vehicles Regulation Act, 1873 s.15.
(7) Assented to 20 November 1899, New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 6, 28 November 1899, p.8939.
(8) Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service, Final Report Volume I: Corruption, May 1997, p.52.
(9) Assented to 29 January 1927, New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 1 , 4 February 1927, p. 668.
(10) Assented to 13 March 1935, New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 1, 15 March 1935, p. 1121.
(11) Assented to 16 December 1964, New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 4, 18 December 1964, p.4167.
(12) Annual Report of the New South Wales Office of the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, year ended 30 June 1986, p. 4-7. Note - this is the first Annual Report for the office even though it had been established in 1982.
(13) Assented to 21 December 1983, New South Wales Government Gazette, Vol. 1, 6 January 1984, p.53.
(14) The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 December 1988, p.4.
(15) Report of the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Investigation into the Relationship Between Police and Criminals, First Report February 1994, p.181.
(16) Assented to 26 June 1990, New South Wales Government Gazette, No. 85, 6 July 1990, p.6217.
(17) The Police Service Act, 1990 (Act No. 47, 1990) Schedule 4 Part 1 and Part 2 section 3 repealed the Police Act 1899 and dissolved the Police Force and Police Department from its commencement on 1 July 1990, New South Wales Government Gazette, No. 82, 29 June 1990, p.5406.