Police officers recognised with Australian Police Medal 26 January, South Australia

South Australia Police is proud to have three recipients of the Australian Police Medal as part of the Australia Day Honours this year – Chief Superintendent Paul Ralphs, Detective Superintendent Kym Hand and Chief Inspector Col Cunningham.

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the Australian Police Medal recognises distinguished service.

“I congratulate Paul, Kym and Col on their outstanding contribution to policing and exemplary services over many years,” he said.

The recipients are:

Chief Superintendent Paul Ralphs:

Chief Superintendent Paul Ralphs joined South Australia Police (SAPOL) in 1982 and since that time has served in a diverse range of postings including Police Communications Group, Firearms Branch, Expiation Notice Branch, and Human Resources Service.

In all of his postings he has aimed to identify and address inefficient practices and processes in SAPOL’s operating model. He has been a leader of change and continuous improvement, encouraging others to look for service delivery improvements which benefit the organisation and the public. At the Firearms Branch, he was instrumental in leading the development of lawful and transparent processes for the application and approving of Firearms Prohibition Orders, dedicated serious firearm investigations and legislative changes in preventing criminal activity involving firearms. This has contributed to increasing the safety of the South Australian community.

At the Police Communications Group he served SAPOL on national committees and was instrumental in leading implementation of enhancements at Police Communications, including to the SA Communications Aided Despatch system and the Government Radio Network. He has also served as a Police Commander in the Police Operations Centre and the State Emergency Centre across a range of public emergencies and responses. He is currently attached at Human Resources Service executive and assists in providing strategic HR leadership across the organisation.

His organisational knowledge and experience across the broad spectrum of policing, accumulated over his 38 year career, and his commitment to SAPOL, and to the safety of the community of South Australia, has been exemplary.

Detective Superintendent Kym David HAND

Detective Superintendent Kym Hand has served South Australia Police (SAPOL) since 1977, with a career predominately focusing on criminal investigation and leadership roles shaping a number of major firearms and corporate reform projects.

He has led diverse SAPOL projects including the Mobile Automated Number Plate Recognition (MANPR) implementation, portable finger print scanners, and the deployment of mobile computing for operational members.

As the Officer in Charge of Firearms Branch he was responsible for the conception, development and introduction of the Firearms Regulations 2017; regulations to operationalise the Firearms Act, 2015. Accompanying this was a comprehensive change management process for SAPOL and the firearms community. This scope of work included all legal, regulatory, government and judicial engagement given the new legislative requirements, and significant engagement with influential lobby groups.

In 2018 he was selected to lead SAPOL’s team during the independent review of frontline policing and court processes.

Detective Superintendent Hand has managed a diverse range of areas during his more than 43 year career, and has consistently demonstrated leadership, professionalism and a dedication to achieving outcomes for South Australia Police, and for the benefit of the wider community.

Chief Inspector Colin James CUNNINGHAM

Chief Inspector Colin Cunningham commenced his career with South Australia Police (SAPOL) in 1977, and his service has included operational and specialist positions including uniform patrols, investigations, intelligence, crime training, legislation and policy, security, media and corporate communications.

He has served as a designated detective attached to specialist and suburban CIB postings, as a founding investigator in SAPOL’s Anti-Corruption Branch, and then on secondment to the National Crime Authority. His dedication is well demonstrated by his management of a complex, major multi-jurisdictional, cross border investigation involving the apprehension and prosecution of 18 offenders across two states.

He also coordinated the intelligence function of the 2004 World Information Technology Conference, multiple Adelaide based rallies and protests, major joint counter terrorism exercises, the APEC conference and high profile dignitary visits. From 2005 he performed intelligence based roles during natural disasters including multiple instances of bushfires across the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island.

He has represented South Australia on the Australia and New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee capability sub committees in relation to public information, intelligence and investigation. Serving in media and marketing roles he is relied upon to provide well considered media advice, particularly during crisis situations. His dedication to the development of digital platforms, fostering effective relationships with mainstream media, and his leadership during emergencies and crises, has been instrumental in effectively informing and educating the South Australian community.

Chief Inspector Cunningham has provided dedicated and committed service to South Australia Police, and to the community, throughout his more than 43 year career.

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