Gas Week

EWN Publishing

Torrid introduction to top job for new NSW Police Commissioner

Posted by gasweek on 21 September, 2007

If you thought you had ever been thrown in at the deep end, have a think about Andrew Scipione and you would realise it was the shallowest of puddles, wrote The Australian (5/9/2007, p. 10). The eyes tell the story: Scipione, universally known as Skippy, took over from Ken Moroney as NSW Police Com­missioner on Saturday. The fol­lowing day the force was thrust into what he readily conceded was the biggest logistical challenge in its 145-year history: John Howard and 19 other world leaders cascad­ing into Sydney, with all that implied in the age of terror. When asked if he had managed to sleep since Saturday, he said: “Have a look at the eyes and let them tell the story.” That seemed a piece of typical plod understatement. So fiery has been Scipione’s baptism that there hasn’t even been time for his formal swearing-in.

Unprecedented powers for a week: Couldn’t Moroney have stuck around for another 10 days, so that Scipione could spend his induction focus­ing on more mundane issues than the schemings of al-Qa’ida? “Ken had a contract,” Scipione said. “We all knew he was retiring at the time that he did. Planning for APEC has been very, very good.” One thing Scipione knew is that his troops had been given unprecedented powers during APEC. For his first week in office, but only for that week, Scipione would be the most powerful cop NSW has ever seen. To add to his other concerns, Scipione’s had a battle to keep the Stop Bush Coalition out of one of those declared areas, Martin Place. He said police had “significant intelligence holdings that tell us disruptions are planned”. Yet he insisted everything was going to plan. “The only problem we’ve had is keeping up with all the appointments. And,” he adds, stepping into a blue people-mover, “I’ve got one now.”

The Australian, 5/9/2007, p. 10

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