After a 30 year career in law enforcement, Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner, Andrew Colvin, today announced he would not be seeking an extension to his five-year contract, which ends on 1 October 2019.
Commissioner Colvin said he made the decision earlier this year and informed the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet prior to the Federal Election, and the Minister for Home Affairs shortly afterwards.
“This has been by far the hardest decision of my 30 years as a police officer, but I believe this is the right decision for me, for my family, and for the AFP,” Commissioner Colvin said.
“The AFP is a great organisation and we do incredibly important work every day to keep Australia safe. It is with enormous pride that I have led the AFP for the past five years, a time during which we have achieved incredible success against a range of crimes both at home, and abroad.
“Rapidly changing crime types both in Australia and overseas have required the organisation to transform by adopting new technologies and shifting traditional thinking about how crime is combatted.”
Making the changes necessary to ensure the AFP is ‘future-ready’ has been another hallmark of his tenure and Commissioner Colvin is proud of the way AFP members have responded to these new and complex operational challenges.
“Five years ago, we embarked on significant reform for the AFP which we always knew would be challenging, but ultimately agency-defining. We took the time to consider what we do, but also how we do it. I want to say thank you to the AFP for embracing the changes I believe were so necessary in becoming the best organisation that we can be,” he said.
“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been a part of this organisation for almost the entirety of my working life and to work alongside the most dedicated and professional men and women, committed to protecting the communities they serve.”
Commissioner Colvin acknowledged the difficult, often life-threatening work members of the AFP perform, can take its toll.
“We have a privileged role in society but it comes at a cost. While there is always more to be done, we have sought expert independent advice nationally and internationally, we have implemented a holistic AFP Health and Wellbeing Strategy, and we have taken a range of proactive steps to provide additional support where it is most needed. But this will continue to be one of our greatest challenges going forward,” he said.
The Commissioner thanked the Australian Government, successive Prime Ministers and Ministers, the heads of other law enforcement agencies, the Commissioners of state and territory police forces, and leaders in law enforcement across the world who had offered their support and shown confidence in the work of the AFP over the past five years.
Commissioner Colvin will work with Government on a transition plan for the organisation noting that the next Commissioner of the AFP will be privileged to lead such a dynamic and committed workforce.
After joining the AFP in 1990, the Commissioner spent the majority of his early career in Sydney where he progressed through the ranks of the organisation, investigating a range of serious and organised crime offences, including narcotic importations, money laundering, politically motivated crime and terrorist financing.
Between 2002 and 2005, Commissioner Colvin coordinated the AFP’s national and international response to terrorism, including the 2002 Bali bombings, 2003 Jakarta Marriot bombing and the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing. This was followed by leadership opportunities as AFP Chief of Staff, National Manager of High-Tech Crime Operations and a number of Deputy Commissioner roles.
In 2003, the Commissioner was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to the investigations of the Bali bombings and in 2008, he was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list where he received the Australian Police Medal.
Commissioner Colvin will depart the AFP at the end of September.