Police Commissioner Speaks at New College Formal Dinner
The NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, was the guest speaker at a New College Formal Dinner on Thursday, 30th August 2012. Residents, Board members, staff and alumni of New College gathered for the Dinner, which was also an opportunity to recognise one of the College’s most devoted supporters. During the evening alumnus and long time friend of New College, Mr Bill Barwick, was awarded the title of ‘Life Fellow’ of the College (see the full story).
Commissioner Scipione is a no-nonsense kind of guy. When he speaks, he speaks candidly but also passionately. “No topic is off limit”, he insisted when opening up the floor for question time at the end of his speech (presumably so long as operational and legal proceedings are not compromised).
The New College community gained some insights into the Commissioner’s take on life. Here are some of the views that came through in his address and during question time:
- The NSW Police Force has come a very long way since Scipione entered the Force in 1980, when only 6 weeks of training was required to become a Police Officer. Now to become a NSW Police Officer you have to undertake an Associate Degree in Policing Practice at Charles Sturt University that includes rigorous practical training and academic assessment.
- There is no place for corruption in the NSW Police Force. Police are not perfect but the culture of the Force is vastly improved compared to the days leading up to the Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service (Wood Royal Commission), whichwas held between 1995 and 1997. Today, more than half of all complaints made about NSW Police come from other NSW Police. This shows that the culture in the force has become one that does not tolerate corruption or negligence.
- Scipione thinks of the Police Force as a service-based organisation where the customers are the people of New South Wales. That means he needs to always be looking at how they can better serve the public for the public good.
- There is a lot of value in looking at how Policing organisations are operated interstate and internationally. In fact, many International Police Forces are looking to NSW to see what practices they can apply to their own jurisdiction. Scipione recognises the need to tailor the organisation’s service to the people, crime problems and demographics of New South Wales.
- The Christian faith has become the foundation Commissioner Scipione’s life and is the main driving force behind his passion to serve the people of NSW.
- The Commissioner wants people to think about alcohol responsibly. If you plan to drink, plan not to drive. If someone you are with is under the influence of alcohol, stop them from driving.
Collegians were impressed by the Commissioner’s willingness to answer their questions, which were not always easy. It was a wonderful Dinner as everyone was engaged thinking about ideas of faith, justice and how we as a society must continually be responding to the challenges posed by criminal behaviour with wisdom, discernment and rigorous, respectful discussion.