Australian Police Commissioners discuss influential women in their careers

The 2017 International Women and Law Enforcement Conference (IWLEC) saw the heads of Australia’s police agencies come together to discuss the current state of law enforcement Australia-wide and the influential women in their careers and lives.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin, Queensland Police Service Commissioner Ian Stewart, New South Wales Police Force Commissioner Mick Fuller, Victorian Police Force Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson, South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine and Northern Territory Police Force Commissioner Reece Kershaw came together today in Cairns for the Australian Law Enforcement Commissioners’ Panel, a public forum and the only time all Commissioners come together as a public panel each year.

Australian Commissioners of Police together for the Commissioners' Panel at the 2017 International Women and law Enforcement conference in cairns

Australian Commissioners of Police together for the Commissioners’ Panel at the 2017 International Women and law Enforcement conference in cairns

Commissioner Stewart said the panel was an enormous opportunity he could not miss.

“Being on the Commissioners’ Panel was a high point for me. It was a privilege to talk about those things that are near and dear to our jurisdictions here in Australia and about the challenges we face as organisations. And not just the challenges, but also the potential solutions,” Commissioner Stewart said.

“It always comes down to one thing – the quality of the people within policing. We certainly are blessed in this country with officers and leaders who really take their roles in law enforcement very, very seriously.

“The 2017 IWLEC was a fantastic occasion for my fellow commissioners and myself to highlight the integral and fundamental role women have played in shaping and influencing both our careers and lives.”

Commissioner Stewart named three special women who have influenced both his career and life. The first woman is his wife, Carol Stewart.

“I know I wouldn’t be in the role I am now if it wasn’t for my wife and her ongoing support. Carol and I met at the Police Academy. She was only in the Service for seven years before leaving so we could start a family, as you had to back then,” Commissioner Stewart said.

The second woman Commissioner Stewart named is German Chancellor, Angela Merkel who he said has influenced his career in the more recent years since they first met in Brisbane at the G20 Summit in 2014.

“When Angela arrived in Brisbane from Germany, the first thing she did was freshen up and then head out to engage with the local community,” Commissioner Stewart said.

“Angela is a world leader and someone who has huge influence in her field yet she hasn’t lost that common touch. I admire the way she remains strong in her personal life and values, and that comes through in her work life and leadership.”

Commissioner Stewart named fallen officer Constable Sondra Lena as the third woman who has had a significant influence on his career.

“Constable Lena was the first female QPS officer to die on duty. While I didn’t know her, I have come to know Constable Lena’s parents very well over the years,” Commissioner Stewart said.

“Her parents have been to every recruit induction ceremony held in Brisbane since the passing of their daughter. While this may sound like a small act, this special commitment to the Service by Constable Lena’s parents is the epitome of what the QPS family encompasses.”

The 2017 International Women and Law Enforcement Conference is being hosted by the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) and ACWAP with the support of the QPS and Queensland Government after a successful bid to host the IAWP Training Conference for 2017.

Photography by official IWLEC 2017 photographer Ness Kerton, madNESS Photography

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