ACT Policing

ACT Policing is the portfolio of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) responsible for providing policing services to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The Australian Capital Territory Police was an independent police force responsible for policing the ACT until 19 October 1979, when it was merged with the Commonwealth Police to form the AFP.

ACT Policing
Common nameACT Policing
MottoWorking together for a safer community
Agency overview
Formed19 October, 1979
Preceding agency
  • Australian Capital Territory Police (1927)
Employees923 (14 October 2010)[1]
Volunteers42 (30 June 2007)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionthe Australian Capital Territory
Governing bodyACT Government
Constituting instruments
  • Australian Federal Police Act 1979, Section 8
  • ACT Policing Arrangement, 14 June 2006
  • Purchase Agreement for the Provision of Policing Services to the ACT
General nature
HeadquartersWinchester Police Centre, Belconnen, ACT

Sworn members691.4 (30 June 2009)
Unsworn members260.7 (30 June 2009)
Minister responsible
  • Mick Gentleman, Police and Emergency Services
Agency executives
  • Ray Johnson, Chief Police Officer, Assistant Commissioner
  • Michael Chew, Deputy Chief Police Officer, Response, Commander
  • Mark Walters, Deputy Chief Police Officer, Crime, Commander
  • Nicole Levay, Director Corporate Services
Services provided byAustralian Federal Police
Uniformed asAustralian Federal Police
Watch houses
Patrol carsYes
Motor bikesYes
Special purpose vehiclesYes
Push bikesYes


In 1911, the ACT was proclaimed as the seat of Australian government, then the Federal Capital Territory under Commonwealth Government administration. Until 1927, the New South Wales Police patrolled what was mostly rural bushland, except for a small and slowly expanding capital city of Canberra. By the mid-1920s plans were well underway to move Parliament and several Commonwealth Government departments to Canberra and many public buildings were on the verge of being constructed.

In 1926, the Commonwealth Attorney-General determined that policing in the Territory should be performed by a local force. In 1927, the Federal Capital Territory Police was formed and staffed by 11 men, 10 former Commonwealth Peace Officers and the former NSW Police Sergeant, who had been in charge of the NSW Police contingent in Canberra. The force soon changed its name to the Commonwealth Police (Australian Capital Territory), until 1957 when it formally adopted the name, Australian Capital Territory Police Force.

On 19 October 1979, as a result of a Commonwealth Government restructure of Australian national policing services, the ACT Police Force amalgamated with the Commonwealth Police to form the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The AFP assumed responsibility for policing the ACT, retaining the role to this day, notable as the ACT attained a degree of self-government in 1989. ACT Policing currently consists of around 923 people of which just over 690 are sworn police.


Winchester Police Centre
Winchester Police Centre in Belconnen

ACT Policing consists of five police stations (patrols) located in the Canberra town centres of Belconnen, City (Civic), Woden, Tuggeranong and Gungahlin Joint Emergency Service Centre. Police Constables based at these stations provide general duties community policing for the ACT. Uniformed traffic operations members work from the Traffic Operations Centre in Belconnen and primarily focus on road safety and traffic law enforcement within the ACT.

The Winchester Police Centre, Benjamin Way, Belconnen, is the ACT Policing Headquarters. The Complex houses ACT Policing's Executive, administrative and support sections and elements of the Criminal Investigations area (CI).

The complex is named in memory of the former Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester APM, the head of the then ACT Region (ACT Policing) of the AFP. Assistant Commissioner Winchester was murdered outside his house in early 1989.[2]

Major Specialist Units

Criminal Investigations (CI) provides a detective function for the ACT, and is located at each of the main police stations (being Tuggeranong, Woden, Belconnen and City) and the Winchester Police Centre.

Specialist Response Group (SRG) provide a full-time tactical response capability in addition to search and rescue, public order management (riot control), police dogs and bomb response functions.


As distinct from the majority of AFP Members engaged in duties outside of ACT Policing, who under AFP Commissioner's Order 1 (Administration), are titled Federal Agents, police Members of ACT Policing (and some other AFP portfolios) adopt traditional ranks:

Those who have sufficient experience and have demonstrated the appropriate competencies are designated as a Detective whilst performing investigative duties in ACT Policing. Members with a Detective designation who assume other roles do not use the title when not attached to investigative or Criminal Investigations (CI) function.

Chief Police Officers

The title 'Chief Officer' was first used by Lieutenant Colonel Harold Edward Jones from 1927 until his retirement in 1943. During his tenure, Jones also held the positions of Director of the Commonwealth Investigation Bureau and the Superintendent of the Peace Officer Guard. Jones' successor, Robert Reid, was appointed solely to head the ACT Police Force (then titled Commonwealth Police (ACT)). Subsequent commanders of the ACT Police Force used the title Commissioner until the force was amalgamated with the Commonwealth Police in 1979 to form the AFP.

Rank Name Post-nominals Term began Term ended
Chief Officer of the ACT Police Force
Chief Officer Harold Edward Jones OBE 1927 1943
Chief Officer Robert Reid 1943 1955
Commissioner Edward 'Ted' Richards MVO 1955 1966
Commissioner Leonard 'Len' Powley 1966 1966
Commissioner Roy Wilson MVO, QPM 1966 1977
Commissioner Reginald 'Reg' Kennedy QPM 1977 1979
AFP Assistant Commissioner for the ACT
Assistant Commissioner Alan Watt 1979 1982
Assistant Commissioner Val McConaghy 1982 1987
Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester APM 1987 1989
Assistant Commissioner Brian Bates APM 1989 1989
Chief Police Officer of ACT Policing
Assistant Commissioner Brian Bates APM 1989 1992
Assistant Commissioner Peter Dawson APM 1992 1995
Commissioner Michael Palmer AO, APM 1995 1999
Assistant Commissioner William Stoll APM 1999 2000
Deputy Commissioner John Murray APM 2000 2004
Deputy Commissioner John Davies APM, OAM 2004 2005
Assistant Commissioner Audrey Fagan APM 2005 2007
Assistant Commissioner Michael Phelan APM 2007 2010
Assistant Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg APM 2010 2013
Assistant Commissioner Rudi Lammers APM 2013 2016
Assistant Commissioner Justine Saunders APM 2016 2018
Assistant Commissioner Ray Johnson APM 2018 Incumbent

During Assistant Commissioner Bates' tenure, at the time of ACT self-government commencement in 1989, the title Chief Police Officer was resumed to denote the head of ACT Policing. Whilst remaining within the AFP command structure, the CPO also became accountable to the ACT Government for policing outcomes in the ACT.

In 2001, the position and title of Deputy Chief Police Officer was created. The first incumbent, between 2001 and 2002, was Assistant Commissioner Denis McDermott APM, followed by Assistant Commissioner Andrew Hughes APM between 2002 and 2003. Assistant Commissioner Hughes performed the duties of the Chief Police Officer for most of the period between the death of Assistant Commissioner Fagan APM and the appointment of Assistant Commissioner Phelan APM in 2007. Since 2003, the title of Deputy Chief Police Officer has been used by both Commander rank deputies of the ACT Policing Executive.


Australian Federal Police Anzac Day 2008

Police vehicle and uniformed officers.


Ford XR6 Turbo

ACTPol Orange-Ford XR6 Turbo-1024

Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

AFP - Ford FG Falcon

Ford FG Falcon patrol car

ACT Police Ford FG

Ford FG Falcon

AFP - Holden VE Commodore

Holden VE Commodore

ACTPol TS3-800px

Holden VE SS II

ACTPol Holden VE-SS-c08

Unmarked VE SS

AFP - 2007 Holden Rodeo Turbo Diesel 3.0 VCDi

Holden Rodeo

AFP 2004 - 2008 Volkswagen Transporter 1

Volkswagen Transporter


Volkswagen Transporter

ACTPol motorcycles-09

BMW R 1200 RT

ACTPol Holden 800px 09

Holden VE SS

ACTPOL Ford FG XR6T-800px

Ford FG XR6 Turbo

ACTPol Holden Rodeo

Holden Rodeo

ACTPol Toyota LC-2011

Toyota Landcruiser


Isuzu, command unit

ACT Pol Scania truck

Scania P94

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Jarrett, Janice (October 1999). "Murder of Assistant Commissioner Winchester". Australian Federal Police. Archived from the original on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2009.

External links

Andrew Hughes (police officer)

Andrew Charles Hughes (6 June 1956 – 28 August 2018) was an Australian police officer of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) who served as the Chief Police Officer (CPO) for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Head of the United Nations Police Division. The CPO position is similar to the role of Australian Commissioners of Police, that is, the chief executive of the ACT Policing component of the AFP. ACT Policing forms one of the larger operating components of Australia's national policing agency, the Australian Federal Police. He was also Commissioner of Police in Fiji from 2003 to 2006. Hughes died of bowel cancer in 2018, aged 62.

Audrey Fagan

Audrey Ann Fagan (23 June 1962 – 20 April 2007) was an Australian police officer, who, between 2005 and 2007, held the rank of Assistant Commissioner and served as the Chief Police Officer of Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Policing, which includes community policing responsibilities for Canberra and other parts of the ACT. Fagan was awarded the Australian Police Medal in 2004 and died in office, having committed suicide by hanging while on vacation.

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory, formerly known as the Federal Capital Territory until 1938 and commonly referred to as the ACT, is a federal territory of Australia containing the Australian capital city of Canberra and some surrounding townships. It is located in the south-east of the country and enclaved within the state of New South Wales. Founded after federation as the seat of government for the new nation, all important institutions of the Australian federal government are centred in the Territory.

On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies of Australia was achieved. Section 125 of the new Australian Constitution provided that land, situated in New South Wales and at least 100 miles (160 km) from Sydney, would be ceded to the new federal government. Following discussion and exploration of various areas within New South Wales, the Seat of Government Act 1908 was passed in 1908 which specified a capital in the Yass-Canberra region. The territory was transferred to the Commonwealth by New South Wales in 1911, two years prior to the capital city being founded and formally named as Canberra in 1913.

While the overwhelming majority of the population reside in the city of Canberra in the ACT's north-east, the Territory also includes some surrounding townships such as Williamsdale, Naas, Uriarra, Tharwa and Hall. The ACT also includes the Namadgi National Park which comprises the majority of land area of the Territory. Despite a common misconception, the Jervis Bay Territory is not part of the ACT although the laws of the Australian Capital Territory apply as if Jervis Bay did form part of the ACT. The Territory has a relatively dry, contintental climate experiencing warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters.

The Australian Capital Territory is home to many important institutions of the federal government, national monuments and museums. This includes the Parliament of Australia, the High Court of Australia, the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Australian War Memorial. It also hosts the majority of foreign embassies in Australia as well as regional headquarters of many international organisations, not-for-profit groups, lobbying groups and professional associations. Several major universities also have campuses in the ACT including the Australian National University, the University of Canberra, the University of New South Wales, Charles Sturt University and the Australian Catholic University.

A locally elected legislative assembly has governed the Territory since 1988. However, the Commonwealth maintains authority over the Territory and may overturn local laws. It still maintains control over the area known as the Parliamentary Triangle through the National Capital Authority. Residents of the Territory elect three members to the House of Representatives and two Senators to the Australian Senate.

With 419,200 residents, the Australian Capital Territory is second smallest mainland state or territory by population. At the 2016 census, the median weekly income for people in the Territory aged over 15 was $998 and higher than the national average of $662. The average level of degree qualification in the ACT is also higher than the national average. Within the ACT, 37.1% of the population hold a bachelor degree level or above education compared to the national figure of 20%.

Australian Federal Police

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is the national and principal federal law enforcement agency of the Australian Government with the unique role of investigating crime and to protect the national security of the Commonwealth of Australia. The AFP is an independent agency of the Department of Home Affairs and is responsible to the Minister for Home Affairs and accountable to the Parliament of Australia. Since October 2014 the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police has been Andrew Colvin.The AFP has a focus on preventing, investigating and disrupting transnational, serious, complex and organised crime including terrorism and violent extremism, cybercrime, child exploitation, drug smuggling, and human trafficking. The AFP is also responsible for delivering community policing in the Australian Capital Territory through ACT Policing and to other dependent territories, providing protective security in major airports and close protection for dignities including the Prime Minister of Australia and foreign diplomatic missions, delivering law enforcement training for Asia-Pacific partner agencies, acting as Australia's international law enforcement and policing representative, and contributing to United Nations peacekeeping around the world. The AFP is also a member of the National Intelligence Community and works closely with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Border Force, and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

Australian police ranks

Australian police ranks and insignia are loosely based on the ranks of the United Kingdom police forces and differ between state and territory forces. Ranks listed here ascend in seniority from left to right.


Northern Territory Police

Australian Federal Police (ACT Policing)


Canberra ( (listen))

is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 410,301, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney, and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne. A resident of Canberra is known as a Canberran. Although Canberra is the capital and seat of government, many federal government ministries have secondary seats in state capital cities, as do the Governor-General and the Prime Minister.

The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely planned city outside of any state, similar to Washington, D.C., in the United States, or Brasília in Brazil. Following an international contest for the city's design, a blueprint by American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913. The Griffins' plan featured geometric motifs such as circles, hexagons and triangles, and was centred on axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory.

The city's design was influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation. The growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, which exacerbated a series of planning disputes and the ineffectiveness of a procession of bodies that were created in turn to oversee the development of the city. The national capital emerged as a thriving city after World War II, as Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies championed its development and the National Capital Development Commission was formed with executive powers. Although the Australian Capital Territory is now self-governing, the Commonwealth Government retains some influence through the National Capital Authority.

As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the official residence of the Monarch's representative the Governor-General, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies. It is also the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as the Australian War Memorial, Australian National University, Royal Australian Mint, Australian Institute of Sport, National Gallery, National Museum and the National Library. The Australian Army's officer corps is trained at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy is also located in the capital.

The ACT is independent of any state to prevent any one state from gaining an advantage by hosting the seat of Commonwealth power. The ACT has voting representation in the Commonwealth Parliament, and has its own Legislative Assembly and government, similar to the states.

As the city has a high proportion of public servants, the Commonwealth Government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest single employer in Canberra, although no longer the majority employer. Compared to the national averages, the unemployment rate is lower and the average income higher; tertiary education levels are higher, while the population is younger. Property prices are relatively high, in part due to comparatively restrictive development regulations.

Colin Winchester

Colin Stanley Winchester (18 October 1933 – 10 January 1989) was an assistant commissioner in the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Winchester commanded ACT Police, the community policing component of the AFP responsible for the Australian Capital Territory.

Crime in the Australian Capital Territory

ACT Policing is responsible for providing policing services to the Australian Capital Territory. For the whole territory, crimes against person for the 2017-2018 year were roughly equivalent to whole of Australia averages. Some types of crime, notably theft from motor vehicle, malicious property damage and other theft, were higher than the Australia-wide average.

David Eastman

David Harold Eastman (born 29 September 1945) is a former public servant from Canberra, Australia. In 1995 he was convicted of the murder of Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. However, a 2014 judicial inquiry recommended the sentence be quashed and he should be pardoned.

On 22 August of the same year, the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory quashed the conviction, released Eastman from prison, and ordered a retrial. Eastman sought leave to the High Court to appeal against the decision for a retrial. His appeal was unsuccessful, and a retrial commenced on 18 June 2018. On 22 November 2018, the jury in the retrial found Eastman not guilty of murder.

Department of Police and Customs

The Department of Police and Customs was an Australian government department that existed between March and December 1975.

Domestic violence in Australia

In Australia, domestic violence is defined by Family Law Act 1975 as "violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person's family, or causes the family member to be fearful".

The Act refers to acts of violence that occur between people who have, or have had, an intimate relationship in domestic settings. Domestic violence includes violence between partners of both sexes, including same-sex relationships. However, the term can be altered by each state's legislation and can broaden the spectrum of domestic violence, such as in Victoria, where family-like relationships and witnessing any type of violence in the family is defined as a family violence.To refer to domestic violence, in Australia, states chose to name them differently. As such, in Australia domestic violence, depending on the state, it's called "domestic violence", "family violence", "domestic and family violence" and "domestic abuse".A survey of domestic violence data in Australia revealed that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced at least one incident of violence from a current or former partner since the age of 15.On average between 2010 and 2012, every 10 days a female died as a result of family violence, with a total of 75 over the period, whilst in 2015, Females accounted for almost two thirds (65%) of all victims of FDV–related Homicide in Australia in 2015 (103 victims)Between 2014 and 2016 there were 264,028 domestic violence incidents reported and recorded. However, Australian Bureau of Statistics's released data revealed that 80% of women and 95% of men who had experienced violence from a current partner never contacted the police. The most common reason for not reporting was cited as fear of revenge or further violence from the current partner. Between 2014 and 2015, 2,800 women and 560 men were hospitalised after being assaulted by a spouse or partner.A paper published in Melbourne in 2016, revealed that from 121,251 domestic violence incidents recorded over a 2 year period,more than 21% involved alcohol by either or both parties.A critical report by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2018 revealed that 1 in 6 (approximately 1.5 million) women and 1 in 9 (approximately 992,000 men) were physically and/or sexually abused before the age of 15. The same report revealed that 72,000 women, 34,000 children and 9,000 men employed homelessness services in 2016–17 due to domestic violence.

Law enforcement agency

A law enforcement agency (LEA), in North American English, is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.

Outside North America, such organizations are usually called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police, others are known as sheriff's offices/departments, while investigative police services in the United States are often called bureaus, for example the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Law enforcement in Australia

Law enforcement in Australia is one of the three major components of the country's justice system, along with courts and corrections. There are law enforcement officers employed by all three levels of government – federal, state / territory, and local.

Federally, the main law enforcement agency is the Australian Federal Police (AFP), which has a wide mandate to enforce Australian criminal law and protect its national interests. There are also a number of other agencies that have powers confined to specific areas, such as national security (ASIO), customs and immigration (ABF), and white-collar crime (ATO, ACCC, ASIC). Each branch of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has its own military police, although there is also an overarching ADF Investigative Service for more complex investigations.

As each Australian state enacts its own laws, general law enforcement duties are the responsibility of state police forces, who are in turn responsible to a government minister (usually the Minister for Police). These forces carry out the bulk of general policing throughout the entire state, including in metropolitan areas. Other state-government departments may also have investigative powers for specific offences within their purview. The Northern Territory also has its own police force, but in Australia's other territories (including the Australian Capital Territory) law enforcement is handled by the federal government.

Australian state and federal police routinely carry firearms. While on duty, most officers' duty belts consist of a handgun, a Taser, an expandable baton, pepper spray, a set of handcuffs, ammunition magazines, gloves, torch and a two-way radio. Local governments have their own smaller force of authorised officers – known as council rangers – to enforce local laws pertaining solely to individual local government jurisdictions. Council rangers generally do not have full police powers (unless they are sworn as special constables).

Michael Phelan (police officer)

Michael "Mike" Phelan , a senior Australian law enforcement officer, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology since November 2017.

Mick Palmer (police commissioner)

Michael John "Mick" Palmer, (b. 1941) is a retired Australian police officer and lawyer who was the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.

Roman Quaedvlieg

Roman Alexander Quaedvlieg (born 8 January 1965) is a former Australian public servant and police officer who was the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) from 1 July 2015 until May 2017 when he was put on paid leave while an investigation into potential corruption took place. He was dismissed from the position in March 2018 after an investigation found that he had failed to comply with disclosure requirements regarding a relationship with a woman.Previously he served as a police officer in Queensland, then with the Australian Federal Police. He then joined the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) as Deputy Chief Executive Officer, later becoming its Chief Executive Officer. When the ACBPS was merged into the new Australian Border Force, he became its inaugural Commissioner and Comptroller-General of Customs.

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery is an art gallery in Sydney, Australia, owned and operated by Roslyn Oxley and her husband Tony Oxley. The gallery has been a longstanding contributor to international art fairs, and supporter of a range of contemporary art disciplines. Artists represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery include Isaac Julien, Yayoi Kusama and representatives for Australia and New Zealand at the Venice Biennale.

Specialist Response Group

Specialist Response Group (SRG) is a highly trained police unit of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) consisting of a range of teams capable of deploying at short notice in order to undertake a variety of specialist policing tasks. SRG predominantly consist of sworn police officers, based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT), who are capable of resolving higher risk planned and emergency policing operations; both domestically and internationally. SRG are a police tactical group as defined under the Australian and New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) arrangements. SRG commenced operations in July 2012 as a result of the merging of the Specialist Response and Security Team (SRS) (from ACT Policing) and the Operational Response Group (ORG) from AFP’s International Deployment Group. SRG are now the largest centralised specialist policing capability in Australia, with almost 200 personnel.

Specialist Response and Security

Until July 2012 the Specialist Response and Security Team (SRS) was a Police Tactical Group of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) having responsibility for tactical and specialist operations within the Australian Capital Territory. The Operational Response Group (ORG) had responsibility for AFP National and International tactical operations. In July 2012 the SRS was merged with the ORG to create the Specialist Response Group.

Police agencies
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