National Police Liaison Officer's Report - 3 February 2007

I am a very recently retired Senior Sergeant with the Victoria Police previously attached to the Freedom of Information/Privacy Unit, Victoria Police Centre, 637 Flinders Street, Melbourne. I was a member of the Victoria Police Force for almost 40 years, which included postings as Officer in Charge of Police Stations, and covert operative squads being attached to licensing, gaming, vice and drug squad units.

In particular, I was conscripted into the Australian regular Army (NS) for two years National Service as a Corporal with the Military Police (1968-70), as well as undertaking a 12 months tour of duty with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in 1974-75 as a (brevet) Inspector.

Until recent times, I was also the Secretary/Treasurer of the United Nations Police Club (Victoria) and held this honorary position since October 1995. Unfortunately, since our AGM conducted after the Anzac Day March last year, I have had to withdraw my administrative services due to ongoing ill health issues and not being able to utilize the vast office facilities which have been readily available to me at the Victoria Police Centre.

Any future UNPAA/APPVA members with Vicpol enquiries relative to current/past UN deployments may contact Inspector Ken Tucknott at Rosanna HQ (ph:03 9457 4444, email: ken.tucknott@police.vic.gov.com.au or Barry Barker (ph: 97266940) on current matters (Social/DVA) which concern police veterans. I can be contacted at home in Portarlington, Vic, ph: 03 5259 3345, (m) 0409016203, e-mail vicsec@peacekeepers.asn.au

Some of the important events I attended and/or can report on over the past year include the 2006 Anzac Day Commemorative March in Sydney, along with growing numbers of both serving and retired members who formed the New South Wales Police Contingent. Federal Police members were also invited to join the NSW ranks who gathered in the Pitt St Mall at 0800 hrs. The large Parade was inspected by the Acting Commissioner, before marching off at 0900 hrs behind the Police Pipe Band and Mounted Branch, along George Street, to the end of Hyde Park.

After March Reunions (Police RSL/UNPAA members) were conducted in the Masonic Centre, and later on I also attended at the Irish Tavern in King St, Sydney, to catch up with a few APPVA ‘stragglers’.

It was heartening to see the increasing numbers of fresh new faces in attendance at the March & social activities, being recently returned members of the Independent Deployment Group (IDG) who have served in East Timor, Solomon Islands, Cyprus, Nauru, Fiji, the Sudan and until recently, Papua New Guinea.

Melbourne, I learnt that there was a very solid turn out of returned police officers at the Anzac Day Commemorative March in Melbourne. An after March social function was conducted at the Rising Sun Hotel in South Melbourne, which was fully sponsored by both the UNPAA (Vic) Club and The Police Association.

The opening of the National Police Memorial in Canberra, ACT, was held on 29 September 2007, before one of the largest gathering of Police ever assembled in Canberra. The parade was conducted before the Prime Minister; the Right Hon. John Howard, all Commissioners of Police, together with Federal and State Parliamentary leaders in attendance. Hundreds of uniformed members represented the Federal Police and every State and Territory, with a fly past by a number of various state police helicopters.

The memorial is located overlooking the lake and is a walled design about 2 metres in height, with copper name plaques protruding which bear the names of over 700 deceased Police members. The list of names include our deceased UNPAA members killed in Cyprus, namely Pat Hackett, Ian Ward (NSW) and Lew Thomas (SA).

The Memorial pays tribute to the Police Officers who have been killed on duty or have later died as a result of their wounds since the advent of policing in Australia and recognises the unique nature of police service and dangers that police members face in their daily pursuits. The $2.4 million memorial was jointly funded by the Australian Government (through the Australian Federal Police), State and Territory Police Services and the Police Federation of Australia.

UN day Sydney, Tuesday 24th October 2006, marked the 61st anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, which was founded on a commitment to prevent war and to strengthen means for conflict resolution. Serving and retired State and Federal Police along with Korean War veterans formed a guard of honour at the Sydney Cenotaph for the wreath laying service. A wreath was laid at the Cenotaph on behalf of members by the President of UNPAA, Denis Percy. After the ceremony, members retired to the nearby Marriot Hotel for a luncheon.

Since 1948, the United Nations has also established 61 peacekeeping operations, with a total of 2298 personnel giving their lives whilst serving with the UN.

From January 1989 until August 2000, the UN launched peacekeeping operations in 21 different locations, of which 14 involved police officers in some capacity. Today, around 66,000 troops and 8,000 police are serving in the 16 active UN peacekeeping operations with a combined budget of $US 4.75 billion for this financial year.

Today, we have approximately 700 staff performing duties with the Independent Deployment Group in the Sudan, Jordon, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands. Year 2006 also marked the 42nd Anniversary of Australian police contributions to peacekeeping.

Recent advice concerning particularised legislative cover for police serving overseas has been received by Chris Ellison, Minister for Justice and Customs, in a letter dated 10th October 2006, that the new legislation will now take the form of amendments to the existing ‘Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act of 1988’. This is in lieu of the UNPAA proposed ‘Police Overseas Act’, which will be administered by the Department of Veteran Affairs, and hopefully introduced into Parliament in the near future.

I again advise that the next UNPAA National Reunion & Conference will be hosted by the NSW Branch in Sydney for 4 days over the UN day period from 21st to 24th October 2007. The varied program is expected to attract approximately 250 veterans and partners.

APPVA members are welcome to attend as guests of UNPAA veterans (Enquiries with NSW Secretary, Tony Wright, ph: 02 9944 6082, (m) 0415 413 697, email: wrighttony@optusnet.com.au

Peter Lock
APPVA (NPLO)