• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 2:58pm

Troubled New South Wales police seek HK chief

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 March, 1996, 12:00am

The New South Wales Government is seeking senior Hong Kong police officers as candidates for the force's top job, left vacant by the resignation of the commissioner.


Police Minister Paul Whelan has asked a head-hunting firm to look to Hong Kong for appropriate officers.


It is understood that, because the territory's 27,000-strong force ranks as one of the largest in the world, senior Hong Kong police commanders would be capable of leading a major reform programme for the New South Wales Police Service. It is also felt some officers might be lured to apply given the uncertainty caused by the return to Chinese sovereignty.


Another potential benefit would be their exposure and involvement in developing anti-corruption initiatives.


Although the head-hunting firm has been directed to scour the world, press reports have indicated particular attention is being paid to the territory.


The New South Wales police are embroiled in the second year of a royal commission which has unearthed startling evidence of widespread corruption, involvement in drug dealing, the protection of paedophile networks and alcohol and narcotics abuse.


The former Police Commissioner, Tony Lauer, retired recently after an interim royal commission report was released.


An acting police commissioner has been appointed pending the selection in the next few months of the replacement.


The report recommended wholesale changes, including the establishment of an external, independent body to supervise police complaints because of the failure of internal affairs officers to act effectively and swiftly to allegations of malpractice.


Although many New South Wales officers will apply for the top job almost all of the state force's hierarchy has been tainted in the royal commission for initially publicly denying the existence of entrenched graft. This is why there is apparently much public and political support for having an outsider lead the 13,000-strong force through a turbulent rebuilding process.


The law enforcement relationship between Hong Kong and New South Wales has traditionally been close with former police ministers, Ted Pickering and Terry Griffiths, both visiting the territory in recent years.


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