Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service

Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service

The Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service (Wood Royal Commission) was held in the State of New South Wales, Australia between 1995 and 1997. The Royal Commissioner was Justice James Roland Wood. The terms of reference were to look into systemic and entrenched corruption within the New South Wales Police; towards the end of the Royal Commission it also investigated alleged paedophile activities within the police service.

The St. James Centre in Elizabeth Street, Sydney where the Royal Commission hearings were held.
New South Wales Police Force

Then Police Commissioner Tony Lauer stated that corruption in the New South Wales Police was not systemic or entrenched, however the Royal Commission uncovered hundreds of instances of bribery, money laundering, drug trafficking, and falsifying of evidence by police. Of particular note was the detective division of the Kings Cross patrol, of which almost all the senior ranks, including the chief detective, were involved in serious and organised corrupt activities, including taking regular bribes from major drug traffickers.

Commissioner Lauer resigned as the level of corruption within the service became clear, and his own position became untenable. Peter James Ryan was recruited from the United Kingdom, as it was felt that the senior ranks of the NSW Police Service were far too compromised by previous corruption or personal ties to corrupt officers. Far and wide ranging reforms were engaged in as a result of the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission, including the establishment of a permanent Police Integrity Commission.

The St. James Centre sign.

The Commission has been criticized as "puritanical" for overreacting to minor cases of alleged misconduct like the Kareela Cat Burglar case, where senior detectives who were tangentially involved in a case where mace was used on an uncooperative baby raper[1] were dismissed from the force 12 years after the event.[2]

Media Interest

The St. James Centre sign outside the building was a regular backdrop for television news reporters during the Royal Commission.


External links

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