The New South Wales Police Force (NSW Police Force; previously New South Wales Police Service & New South Wales Police) is the primary law enforcement agency in the State of New South Wales, Australia. It is an agency of the Government of New South Wales within the New South Wales Ministry for Police and Emergency Services. Divided into eighty Local Area Commands (LAC), the NSW Police Force consists of over five hundred local police stations and covers an area of 801,600 square kilometres whilst serving the state's population of seven million people.
Under the Police Regulation Act, 1862 (NSW), the organisation of the New South Wales Police Force was formally established in 1862 with the unification of all existing independent police units within New South Wales. The authority and responsibility of the entire police force was given to the Inspector General of Police.
The 1990s were a turbulent period in NSW Police history. The Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service was held between 1995 and 1997. The Royal Commission uncovered hundreds of instances of bribery, money laundering, drug trafficking, and falsifying of evidence by police. Then Police Commissioner Tony 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. Wide ranging reforms occurred as a result of the recommendations of the Royal Commission, including the establishment of a permanent Police Integrity Commission.
The current Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force is Andrew Scipione, APM, who replaced Ken Moroney AO APM, on 31 August 2007, with Deputy Commissioner Dave Owens APM, Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas APM and Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn APM. The State Government Cabinet Minister responsible for the New South Wales Police Force portfolio is The Honourable Mike Gallacher, MLC. As of August 2012, the New South Wales Police Force consists of approximately 16,279 officers
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