A commanding officer who has spent the last two years overseeing a police district with a larger geographical area than some European countries, is swapping red dirt for skyscrapers.
Superintendent Andrew Hurst has been appointed to a newly-created position at Parramatta, leaving the position of Central North Police District Commander he started in 2019.
This was Supt Hurst’s third stint in Bourke, having been first transferred there from Mt Druitt in 1999
It was the lifestyle and community connection which kept bringing him back, but now a passion for developing strategies to tackle domestic violence, mental health and Aboriginal programs for the entire state takes him to NSW Police Headquarters to head the Crime Prevention Command, commencing Sunday (4 July 2021).
“My new role compliments the studies I completed at the University of Cambridge which was a Masters in Applied Criminology, and this new command really influences the frontline units across the whole state; developing strategies and response to domestic violence and mental health, and crime prevention strategies,” Supt Hurst said.
“There’s a huge responsibility in this new role and a lot of my experiences from Western NSW will be extremely relevant to the position given the social disadvantage that we have in these areas, the frequency of domestic violence, and the crossover of mental health issues.”
Supt Hurst reflected on his time with Central North Police District where he has shown an enormous level of community engagement, which he said doubles as his proudest achievement.
Since returning to Bourke in 2014, Supt Hurst was fortunate enough to work closely with all levels of the Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project; a model which has seen reduced crime in the Bourke Community.
More broadly across the Central North Police District, Supt Hurst said he is pleased with the reduction of crime within the Walgett, Lightning Ridge and Collarenebri areas of the district through increased partnerships with local agencies and community.
“The issues that thrive in these communities are domestic and family violence, and the issues caused by youth involved in crime and antisocial behaviour,” Supt Hurst said.
“That was a challenge in the 1990s equally as it is today, and while we do things a lot differently now, the legacy is for police in this district and the new commander to improve on the gains that have been made and make it even better.”
As part of his final duties as Central North Police District Commander, Supt Hurst recently led ceremonies in Bourke and Walgett to commission the Aboriginal flag poles at the local police stations.
Supt Hurst said the act resembles a proud relationship between police and the Aboriginal communities of Bourke and Walgett.
“Now the Aboriginal flag is proudly flying outside both of those 24-hour police stations,” Supt Hurst said.
“We can’t achieve our objectives or implement our strategies without a close partnership with those Aboriginal communities, so the flags represent that partnership we have and that we aren’t policing the community, we are policing with the community.”
Western Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, thanked Supt Hurst and his family for their contribution to the district.
“Supt Hurst has made a valuable contribution to policing in the north west of the state,” AC McKechnie said.
“His high-level community engagement and consultation has led to increased safety for all community members. I wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”